Making waves with sound waves
Until now, tractor beams had been thought of as a fictional concept in movies or cartoons. Key words: “until now”. We have all been privy to the power of sound. Whether being at a loud music concert or having the bass turned up in your car, you can feel the vibrations even down to your core. Scientists over at the Universities of Sussex and Bristol, were inspired by this idea when they sought to create the world’s first tractor beam.
Sriram Subramanian, professor of informatics at the University of Sussex, explains what him and his team sought to create,
“In our device, we manipulate objects in mid-air and seemingly defy gravity […] we can individually control dozens of loudspeakers to tell us an optimal solution to generate an acoustic hologram that can manipulate multiple objects in real-time without contact.”
The levitating machine is on a very miniature scale consisting of tiny speakers lined up on a 8×8 grid with the ability to control each speaker’s sonic movements, consuming a mere 9 watts of power.