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Tractor beams make the leap from sci-fi to real life

Nov. 13, 2015

Scientists are now able to use loudspeakers to create tractor beams, levitating and rotating objects.

What can you do with loudspeakers? Blast your favorite song? Turn science fiction into reality? Scientists are now able to use loudspeakers to create tractor beams, levitating and rotating objects by using just one block of speakers on one side of the object.

According to Hanae Armitage from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, "Scientists have used sound to levitate objects before. That feat isn't surprising, as sound is a wave of pressure strong enough to move your eardrum. However, instead of audible sound, sonic levitation utilizes higher ultrasonic frequencies that are beyond the range of human hearing. When blared from loudspeakers in the right configuration, these sound waves can combine to form a sonic scaffolding called an interference pattern—a sort of a force field that can hold a small object aloft."

To see this amazing technology in action, watch the video below.

About the Author

Alexis Gajewski | Senior Content Strategist

Alexis Gajewski has over 15 years of experience in the maintenance, reliability, operations, and manufacturing space. She joined Plant Services in 2008 and works to bring readers the news, insight, and information they need to make the right decisions for their plants. Alexis also authors “The Lighter Side of Manufacturing,” a blog that highlights the fun and innovative advances in the industrial sector. 

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