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Star Trek tractor beam: Ultrasound beams maneuver object in science breakthrough

The "Star Trek" tractor beam was just a thing of science fiction, until recently when scientists using ultrasound have found a way to direct its force to move objects. This tractor beam is in its very early stages and although the beam has only moved a small object a short distance, this is a major scientific breakthrough, according to WebPro News on May 31.

The Star Trek tractor beam is now based in reality as scientist have moved an object using ultrasound beams to move an object!
APS/ Allen Stonebaker

Using ultrasound as a tractor beam is a concept that has been around for some time. It wasn't until recently that a team of scientists found the right technique to make it work and like any other invention in its infancy stage, the sky's the limit on where they can go with this in the future. The beam was created by scientists at Dundee University, according to eCanada News.

The researchers at Dundee were able create a tractor beam that can pull objects 1,000,000 times larger than any tractor beam created before. Compared to the earliest versions of tractor beams, this new beam can pull objects a billion times heavier. Scientists are giving a new meaning to the term "tractor pull." No longer does this have the sole meaning of a farm tractor pulling weighted loads through a field of mud!

The beam was created to move one specific shape, which is described as a "hollow triangular object." A team from the University for Medical Science and Technology (IMSAT) is now focusing on forming this ultrasound beam for other shapes. The tractor beam will need to be shaped to the specific object that the team is focusing on moving next.

What the IMSAT team did was focus twin ultrasound beams to the back of the object and they were able to hold and to move the object a short distance. They were also able to rotate the object.

The ultra sound that they are using has already been clinically approved for use in surgery that is MRI-guided. The team claims that this new tractor beam is the strongest ever created. They are focused on developing this beam to have even more strength in the future.

Thia beam is going to take some time to perfect, but their goal is to develop it for "advancement in ultrasound-based techniques." Think about all the technology that went from the realm of science fiction to reality in the last five decades. For those of you born before computers and the creation of the Internet, you now know that what was once considered impossible can become reality in a blink of an eye.

Looking into the not so distant past, cartoons depicting characters speaking to one another over a TV screen with each party able to see the other while having a conversation was a cool, yet not reality based. The "Jetsons" had a version of what would later be called Skype on their TV sets.

"Get Smart" had a phone in his shoe with no cords needed to plug it in. Reality eventually followed with cell phones. Flying cars, cars that drive themselves, plastic instead of money, all of these concepts were depicted in science fiction at one time, but they've materialized in reality.

While the tractor beam invention is awesome, when they get around to inventing the machine that will let you say "beam me up Scotty," jaws will drop even lower! The "beam me up" contraption and the car that's a time machine from "Back to the Future," may be something else you will see in your lifetime. Never say never!

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