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[iflscience] Sonic Tractor Beams Are Now A Reality

post #1 of 10
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Sonic Tractor Beams Are Now A Reality
Quote:
photo credit: The researchers have created acoustic holograms with shapes such as tweezers, twisters and cages that exert forces on particles to levitate and manipulate them, by Asier Marzo, Bruce Drinkwater and Sriram Subramanian
Quote:
People might still be annoyed that we don’t have warp drive yet, but another invention straight out of science-fiction has now become a reality. Researchers from the Universities of Bristol and Sussex, England in collaboration with Ultrahaptics have developed the first sonic tractor beam that can lift and move objects using nothing but sound waves.

The team used a system made of 64 miniature loudspeakers able to create high-pitched and high-intensity sound waves, generating an acoustic hologram that can lift, move, rotate and hold small objects. The system can create three different shapes of acoustic force fields. The first was made to resemble tweezers, the second was a vortex-like structure which trapped the object in the middle, and the last one surrounds the object from all directions and keeps it in place.
Quote:
n unprecedented ability to wield sound waves was necessary to reach this sophisticated technology. "We all know that sound waves can have a physical effect. But here we have managed to control the sound to a degree never previously achieved," added Bruce Drinkwater, Professor of Ultrasonics in the University of Bristol's Department of Mechanical Engineering.

The current sonic tractor beam can levitate objects between 0.6 to 4 millimeters in size, and the maximum size for the levitated objects is determined by the frequency of the sound waves – the lower the frequency, the larger the object that can be manipulated. As sound frequencies can be easily changed, there's the potential of using sound at megahertz frequency, to move a cell, down to kilohertz, to lift a beach ball.

"We have some future work on levitating a beach ball from 10 meters away but from my point of view, the really interesting applications are in manipulating small particles that are inside our body," lead author Asier Marzo told IFLScience. "That is possible because sound can travel through water or human tissue. This potentially enables the manipulation of clots, kidney stones, drug capsules, microsurgical instruments or cells inside our body without any incision."
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post #2 of 10
So can we move people with this without killing them?
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post #3 of 10
Means I can eat food directly after my Sunday basketball match. Should need to tell my mum about this
post #4 of 10
Minus 1000 points for source.
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post #5 of 10
A great start but unless they can somehow manipulate/create sound in space or low pressure area's this is only limited to high pressure atmosphere.
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post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liranan View Post

A great start but unless they can somehow manipulate/create sound in space or low pressure area's this is only limited to high pressure atmosphere.
Yeah, sound is pretty much limited to places where sound can occur.

Anyway, this is pretty awesome.
    
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post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Murderfini View Post

So can we move people with this without killing them?

You'll just have to worry about that brown note.


But no, a beam powerful enough to lift a person would kill them. But this is extremely useful for working on individual atoms and potentially for cell separation applications in the future.
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post #8 of 10
I love how they created a little UFO case for the device at the end. Sadly this wouldnt work in space.
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post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robenger View Post

Minus 1000 points for source.

pardon ? The source is at the top ...
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post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaistledine View Post

pardon ? The source is at the top ...

The source is IFL Science, thus the minus 1000 points.

Sensationalist science at IFLScience

When science meets clickbait: IFLScience is getting some heat
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