Tractor beam uses holographic audio to manipulate objects

A team at Public University of Navarre located in Pamplona, Spain has taken holography to the next stage by using the premise to build a tractor beam, which uses ultrasonic audio waves to manipulate objects such as a polystyrene bead 3mm in diameter.

The ultrasonic waves operate in a similar fashion to light in a hologram. An array of flat speakers emit sound waves which then get stronger when two peaks meet and weaker when a peak meets a trough.

In an interview with The Guardian, Asier Marzo, who worked on the project explained that by manipulating the sound waves the he and his team were able to create holograms using audio that could rotate, grab and spin objects. The team says that they are also able to create 3D shapes such as a cage or tweezers.

“We can move bigger and heavier objects than we have done, but the main application is going smaller to manipulate things inside the human body,” Marzo told The Guardian.

This is entirely probable as sound waves are able to travel through the human body. Using this technology would allow medical professionals to manipulate blood clots or even direct drugs to a particular area of the body from outside the body without the need for incisions.

Holography, it would seem, has come a long way since the invention of the holographic method in 1971 by Nobel Prize winning physicist Dennis Gabor.

[Via – The Guardian] [Image by CC 2.0 – Tom Blackwell]


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