Tractor beam for human suspension?
Light as a feather, as stiff as a board: this is a game you may grow up with, and repeat it anxiously, hoping your friend can start floating. Thanks to a new study published Monday in the physical review newsletter, you may have another way to boost your friends’ fingertips and sorcery.
Researchers at the university of Bristol have shown that they can reliably capture particles larger than wavelength in a beam of acoustic tracers. If you’re not a star trek fan, a traction beam is a device that can manipulate gravity to push or pull an object.
In previous acoustic levitation simulations and experiments, as the particles grew larger, they began to orbit around the central orbit until they were eventually thrown out of the device. But Bristol researchers have found that objects can be controlled by rapidly changing the whirring of the sound of the rotating direction. Basically, they send out a counter-clockwise vortex in a short period of time, and then emit a clockwise vortex that lasts the same time. A press release describes these vortexes as “tornadoes”, with a winding sound, clear structure and quiet core.
The acoustic tractor emits an ultrasonic wave that hits 40kHz (an ultrasound sensitive animal, such as a bat can hear), and it’s levitating a sphere measuring more than two acoustic waves. But these things will end up being much bigger than this.
“In the future, more acoustic capabilities will be possible to hold larger objects,” said Mihai Caleap, a senior researcher at the development simulation. “This is thought to be possible to use a lower pitch to make the experiment audible and dangerous to humans.”