Scientists from a university in Scotland have created a tractor beam a la “Star Trek.” And this tractor beam actually works.
According to the BBC, this ultrasound beam has moved objects, unlike other attempts that have only moved microscopic objects.
This tractor beam has moved objects of about a centimeter and was the first demonstration of a working acoustic tractor beam, said Dr. Christine Demore of Dundee’s Institute for Medical Science and Technology. To create the beam, the scientists used an ultrasound tool that has been approved to be used in MRI-guided surgeries.
“We were able to show that you could exert sufficient force on an object around one centimetre in size to hold or move it, by directing twin beams of energy from the ultrasound array towards the back of the object,” said Demore.
The physicists from Dundee University worked with colleagues from Southampton and Illinois, and their results were published in a scientific journal.
And the tractor beam isn’t just a nerdy project — it could be used to work with ultrasound-based methods in medicine.