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Scientists Just Used a Tractor Beam to Levitate the Largest Object Yet

Scientists Just Used a Tractor Beam to Levitate the Largest Object Yet

Science fiction is filled with tractor beams. So real researchers have been working on making
that technology science fact. And we’re getting closer with a new acoustic
tractor beam that has lifted the largest ever object: a 2-cm ball! In the movies, tractor beams are beams of
some undefined energy, but IRL that’s not the case. Commonly, researchers use sound. The idea of harnessing sound waves for levitation
isn’t new. Scientists have been exploiting the properties
of air and sound to this end for a while. Remember that air is a fluid that behaves
like a liquid, even if we can’t see or feel it the same way. And sound is a physical vibration, even if
we don’t think of it as such. Basically: harnessing acoustic power is harnessing
the lifting effect of physical sound waves as they move through the air. The sound compresses the air in waves and
those waves correspond to the sound’s wavelength. Acoustic levitation uses this wave to balance
against gravity. The result is a free-floating particle that
looks a little like science fiction magic. Dialing in the sound waves means lifting objects
with extreme precision. The thing is, it’s not exactly a technology
that’s easy to scale up. Researchers have been struggling for years
to lift an object larger than the sound wave they’re using. Every time they try, the object spins because
the rotating sound field transfers motion. Eventually, the object ends up flying out
of the sound wave. But researchers have finally managed to control
this spinning motion by spinning the sound wave instead. Using ultrasonic waves at a frequency similar
to one that only bats can hear, they created a vortex of sound that they twist to stabilize
the beam. From there, they increased the size of the
silent core to where it was able to hold a two-centimetre polystyrene sphere. It’s tiny, but it’s two times larger than
the waves lifting it, making it the largest object ever levitated with sound. So, yes, the object is still tiny, but the
implications are huge. Relatively speaking. The researchers are looking ahead to using
very deliberately directed tractor beams to move kidney stones through the body or direct
a capsule of pharmaceuticals to a target area. So, it might be a while before we’re lifting
humans, but the upside is medical advances will be great until then. Thanks so much for watching, guys, and be
sure to subscribe for more Seeker. Speaking of medical advances, what if one
shot could give you all your vaccines? Trace has more on that, right here. But on tractor beams, if you think about how
this works, it can’t happen in space. Without air there’s no soundwaves. We’ll have to harness some other energy
for our sci-fi needs.


They could lift a human if the human gets inside of a ball they don't levitate the human but levitate the ball the human is in, it has to be at a frequency that does not interfere with what the human is made out of like water or the human could die.

Sort of ironic – a number of the more profound discoveries or advances in technology were intended for benign purposes – but wound up seeing use in war instead.

Calls something based on a technology used in space a tractor beam, yet it uses sound and air particles… But wait, there's no air in space. Hur durr

An actual tractor beam would have to warp space between objects beyond the target's escape velocity to cause it to move back. It would have to utilize energy equivalent to mass greater than the target's escape velocity. Either that or an electromagnetic devise either charges an object to attract it or uses ultra strong magnetism.

Yes very smart. Use tractor beam to pump more pharma drugs so they can make you a vegetable faster…. What an ingenious idea.

Already done if you want to make one yourself – produced a few months before your post:

It's hard to take anymore seriously who uses "IRL" in conversation. Maybe she'd be better suited to presenting teen fall fashions instead of sciency stuff.

wow… That's not a tractor beam, that's an acoustic confinement.
Half the reason why the Sci-fi beam is of "undefined energy" is based on the fact that we don't know how to control gravity yet in the form of energy. Tractor beams in sci-fi are based n having the ability to control gravity, an ability we still don't have as we have not yet even identified an exact particle associated with gravity, much less built a way to make those particles and control the flow of such particle energy.

Thats really cool yeah its a small ball but look what its doing.its literally holding it in the air with just sound no magnets or air simply waves of sound that is amazing

This will be the key to a ion drives that allow us to capture the fuel we use and store some of it again for re use even.

Sound is just a reverse magnetic field and can not travel far because of the weakness and this has no great value of scientific research at all because we have the knowledge and know how to control the objects with sounds and this circle demention of speakers is a common sense of gravity and the ability to left with enough power : the same experience will happen with magnetic materials and magnets , if you want to find a great newly experiment with levitation you can search atomic energy and atomic magnetic elements

Shout out to everyone at seeker for providing us “the YouTube community” for feeding us current scientific content you are the amazing. Love to you all .

Oh Amy, I do so love when you present Seeker, you're beautiful, intellegent and charming.
That being said, accoustic levetation and tractor beams are entirely different technological concepts. For starters, you can't use accoustic levetation in the vaccum of space. Very, VERY clickbaity title with zero pay off.

Perhaps we could lower some type of nozzle to the surface of an asteroid, inside the nozzle would be rotating lasers that could break up the rocks, also at the same time there could be air added to this. Then apply the sound waves to lift up the broken up rock. Or perhaps we could modify light waves that could hold air inside it as well as sound,.

I had a science book with a picture of a NASA scientist observing a droplet of water suspended in mid air above a sound resonator circa. 1960

Yeah, that is true marvel. I have just single transducer and able to levitate just small ball of stryrofoam. Not enough power to levitate water droplet, but still working on it.

I know this Seeker vid is clickbaity but you idiots are too quick to presume yourselves to be smarter than those engineers and their work featured in the vid.
1) It won't work in space (Boohoo my space opera fantasy): Complaining it won't work in space like that means anything proves you are just a hopeless Sci-fantasy fanboy who constantly live in escapism. Seriously? Why would you want it to? Your attitude amounts to "oh yeah? well can shoot lasers and fly me to Mars and do my dishes? No. So there. Checkmate, scientists! Lolololol I yem soh smurter than dese profeshunulls"

2) Too Expensive: Any technology is expensive when it's first introduced, before mass production, dumbass. Did you know Aluminum processing was so expensive it made aluminum more expensive than gold during Napoleonic times? It's why the tip of the Washington Monument was capped with a mere 9-inch dinky Aluminum pyramid, cuz back then they considered it top tier rare metal. With modern technology Aluminum processing has become so cheap, we use it for disposable beverage cans.

3) It's been done already decades ago: Did you know USB technology was already around since the late 80s? Only in the early 2000s did we get it cheap enough to commercialize it for the masses.

4) The Same effect can be achieved with a fan: That's like saying planes are stupid and useless because traveling to other countries can also be achieved by ships. You don't know which is more energy efficient or less noisy etc., nor did you pay attention and say they can move kidney stone particles with these or some such. Maybe it will improve existing kidney stone medication technology. Who knows. I'm not an expert, but I don't automatically assume the worst in people and think these engineers/scientists have been wasting their time all these years.

I really love her patronizing tone. When they were brainstorming to come up with this channel they thought 🤔 💭 “what if …… we pretended all of our audience was retarded”

Clickbait bullshit, that's just sonic levitation, what they are talking about isn't a new thing, and it't nothing like a tractor beam. What a horrible channel full of clickbait.

Matter is self propelled. Gravity doesn't push or pull; it is merely the instruction that tells matter which way to go.

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