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Water-Based Tractor Beam Gives Hope for a Star-Trek Like Future



/ 2 years ago

Screenshot 2014-08-12 07.27.46

A team of scientists in Australia have developed a working tractor beam technology, and while we aren’t at the stage of pulling in huge enemy spaceships in defence of our planet, we can grasp some control over objects in water.

The new water-based tractor beam can control water flow patterns, allowing it to manoeuvre floating objects, something the team say may also be used to help confine oil spills.

“A tractor beam is a popular term which, I think it captures quite well the basic principal,” lead researcher Dr. Horst Punzmann, an engineer at the Australian National University in Canberra, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “You put an object there and it propagates, it floats backwards to the source of the wave.”

“We’ve managed to manipulate floating objects to move toward the wave, to move in the direction of the wave or to keep them stationary in the flow,” Punzmann explains in a video released by the university.

The effect is impressive, but even the team add that existing mathematical theories cannot describe the currents produced by the larger waves. The technique may only work in water at the moment, but understanding how these waves interact could be the step needed to making a tractor beam that works out of the water.

Thank you Huffington for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Huffington.


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  • Ryan Airth

    Cool, now all we to do now is figure out how to manipulate space-time and we have the potential to have a proper, real life, tractor beam.