Scientists Turn Sound Waves Into ‘Tractor Beam’ to Move Objects

By: | November 11th, 2015

A tractor beam is a ray that can move objects without any physical contact. The idea has been used in countless science fiction stories over the years.

But this idea may soon turn into reality. Scientists have developed a ‘tractor beam’ that uses sound to capture, levitate, and maneuver objects in midair. The technology could prove to be very useful one day in moving hazardous materials, conducting surgery, or assembling delicate electronic components.

Researchers in the UK have successfully programmed a grid of miniature ultrasonic speakers that can move objects around in the air with just waves of high-intensity sound.

The scientists used an array of 64 miniature loudspeakers to generate high-pitch and high-intensity sound waves what they call an ‘acoustic hologram’ to test the design on small, pea-sized objects. They were able to control these small objects from 30-40cm away by controlling the output of the speakers.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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