By Rhodi Lee, TechTimes
The tractor beam is a science fiction staple seen in movies such as “Star Wars” and “Star Trek” but thanks to a team of researchers led by Asier Marzo, from Britain’s University of Bristol, the technology is now a reality.
On Tuesday, Oct. 27, the researchers reported that they have developed the once fictional tractor beam. The device uses ultrasound at a frequency of 40 kilohertz to levitate, rotate and move things sans the need to make contact with them.
The tractor beam presented by Hollywood has the ability to remotely pull in spaceships and other things but the technology developed by the researchers is still in its infancy. It can only remotely move small objects at this time. Nonetheless, the research team already envisioned a range of applications for the device.
Marzo and colleagues said the technology could pave way for “containerless transportation,” which could have uses in areas where materials are considered dangerous to handle or at high risk of getting contaminated.
“Sound can levitate objects of different sizes and materials through air, water and tissue. This allows us to manipulate cells, liquids, compounds or living things without touching or contaminating them,” the researchers wrote in their study published in the journal Nature Communications.