With a little help from science, people will be able to levitate in the future or transport heavy stuff across large distances without vehicles. A team from University of Bristol’s Mechanical Engineering Department was successful in putting together an acoustic tractor beam, a device capable of lifting heavy objects using sound.
Acoustic Tractor Beam Can Now Lift Larger Objects
Although the concept of using sound waves to move objects has been around for quite a while, a University of Bristol’s experiment proved that such a device could be upscaled as to move even larger objects.
While previous theories stated that acoustic tractor beams could lift an object which has the exact dimensions of a soundwave, the new experiment proved that larger objects could potentially be transported.
Dr. Asier Marzo, the senior researcher of the acoustic tractor beam project, explained the physics behind this astounding invention. During the experiment, using a specific soundwave manipulation technique, researchers can create acoustic vortices, little sound tornadoes. Marzo explained that these structures are surrounded by loud sound and have a silent core.
The experiment’s goal was to find a way to stabilize the soundwave, making it possible for it to carry larger objects. This was achieved by changing the direction of these acoustic vortices which, in turn, would stabilize the acoustic tractor beam and its rotation rate.
How Good is the Team’s Acoustic Tractor Beam?
As Marzo declared, the acoustic tractor beam is still far off from carrying larger objects such as people, but, during the experiment, the scientists were able to lift a 7-inch polystyrene ball. It might not seem like much, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.
If perfected, acoustic tractor beams can have any number of applications, like in surgery or in automated factories.
Image source: Pixabay