Using Sound to Grab Objects and Move Them

Sonic Tractor Beam

#Science

Thu, Oct 29th, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

The Guardian shows off the Sonic Tractor Beam, a device capable of grabbing, holding, and moving an object using nothing more than soundwaves. The goal of the device is not to capture enemy starships, but to "operate microsurgical instruments inside patients’ bodies."

The technology works by using an array of flat speakers to produce acoustic holograms. Just as visual holograms are produced in 3D from interfering light waves, so acoustic holograms are made by interfering sound waves. When the peaks of two waves meet, they produce a greater amplitude; when a peak meets a trough they cancel out.

Marzo’s team showed that by carefully adjusting the sound waves, they could create moving acoustic holograms that worked like 3D cages, tweezers or rotating spirals that could lift, grab, spin and nudge tiny particles around.

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