University of Sussex via Youtube
University of Sussex via Youtube

This 'Tractor Beam’ Can Move Objects With Sound

University of Sussex via Youtube
University of Sussex via Youtube

We’re still waiting on the widely available tractor beams promised to us by science fiction, but scientists are getting closer. New technology, developed by researchers from the University of Sussex and the University of Bristol, can move objects using the force of sound.

In a paper published this week in Nature Communications [PDF], the experts describe how they were able to manipulate light objects using what they call "acoustic holograms." The tractor beam was built from a grid of 64 tiny loudspeakers programmed to emit high intensity noises. These sound waves created a kind of "force field” around the object, allowing it to float in place without contact. Adjustments to the speakers were used to rotate small objects and guide them accurately through the space.

The team hopes to create a bigger design in the future. And while it's certainly not a new working concept, it could have many applications in the real world, including use in a “sonic production line” that transports and assembles delicate or sterile materials. It could also also be used in medicine to precisely manipulate drugs into a patient's body. But because the technology relies on vibrations in the air, it unfortunately wouldn't be of much use on the front of a Star Trek-style spaceship.

[h/t: WIRED UK]

A Florida Brewery Created Edible Six-Pack Rings to Protect Marine Animals

For tiny scraps of plastic, six-pack rings can pose a huge threat to marine life. Small enough and ubiquitous enough that they’re easy to discard and forget about, the little plastic webs all too often make their way to the ocean, where animals can ingest or become trapped in them. In order to combat that problem, Florida-based Saltwater Brewery has created what they say is the world’s first fully biodegradable, compostable, edible six-pack rings.

The edible rings are made of barley and wheat and are, if not necessarily tasty, at least safe for animals and humans to ingest. Saltwater Brewery started packaging their beers with the edible six-pack rings in 2016. They charge slightly more for their brews to offset the cost of the rings' production. They hope that customers will be willing to pay a bit more for the environmentally friendly beers and are encouraging other companies to adopt the edible six-pack rings in order to lower manufacturing prices and save more animals.

As Saltwater Brewery president Chris Gove says in the video above: “We want to influence the big guys and kind of inspire them to also get on board.”

When Chuck Yeager Tweeted Details About His Historic, Sound Barrier-Breaking Flight

Seventy years ago today—on October 14, 1947—Charles Elwood Yeager became the first person to travel faster than the speed of sound. The Air Force pilot broke the sound barrier in an experimental X-1 rocket plane (nicknamed “Glamorous Glennis”) over a California dry lake at an altitude of 25,000 feet.

In 2015, the nonagenarian posted a few details on Twitter surrounding the anniversary of the achievement, giving amazing insight into the history-making flight.

For even more on the historic ride, check out the video below.


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