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Star Trek tractor beam: Sci-fi in real life, beam uses sound waves to move items

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The Star Trek tractor beam has often been sought after by sci-fi and technology fanatics alike, but scientists have recently designed a real life tractor beam of sorts, using sound waves to actually move things around at will. While it may be small scale in its early stages, this revolutionary discovery could have big consequences for the human race in the not-so-distant future. Web Pro News shares this Saturday, May 31, the details surrounding this modern tractor beam and the science behind it.

How convenient and desirable would a Star Trek tractor beam be in today’s day and age? From grabbing that smartphone from across the room without having to get up to never really having to use the stairs again (you might miss out on the exercise), a tractor beam would be undoubtedly incredible, not to mention useful. Fortunately for those fellow dreamers of transportation at the click of a button out there, a reality in this advanced realm has actually been made this week.

Using sound waves to “transport” objects from one place to another has finally been devised by a team of researchers and scientists located at Dundee University. The expert group that worked diligently to design this tractor beam — which seems to come straight out of a sci-fi story or Star Trek episode — was able to successfully move a triangular item a single centimeter forward. While only 1 centimeter may not seem like much distance (and it isn’t), it’s certainly a step in the right direction for the new technology.

According to Nature World News in an updated report, a scientist working for the Institute for Medical Science and Technology (commonly abbreviated as IMSAT), noted in a recent statement to the media:

“We were able to show that you could exert sufficient force on an object around 1cm (about 0.4in) in size to hold or move it, by directing twin beams of energy from the ultrasound array towards the back of the object.”

It seems that the unique device in question was an ultrasound contraption, which serves as the basis for this “tractor beam.” The experts claim that their tractor beam is the strongest one in existence at the moment (though many have tried to build such a complex machine before), and that they intend to keep on working with it to make it even stronger in the future. Added the doctor in her comment,

“The concept has been there for a long time … It took a couple of years to find the right pieces and get them together, with lots of other research going on … Our previous work on the sonic screwdriver led to this …We can do other shapes and sizes, but it was the best shape to demonstrate what was happening.”

If you had a tractor beam at your disposal, what might you do with the amazing invention?

So it looks like moving something as big as even a TV remote controller, for example, a significant distance is still a very long way off for us average humans, but here’s to science, here's to sci-fi and Star Trek, and here’s to hoping that may eventually come to be.

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