Thursday, September 16, 2010

Never Doubt Star Trek: Tractor Beam Becomes a Reality

Great news for all you Trekkies out there.  In a few decades you may be able to get your very own tractor beam!

Physicists have created a device that can move small particles with only the power of light.  It works by shining a hollow laser beam around tiny glass particles.  The circular outside of the beam heats up while the inside stays cool, so when the particles begin to drift out of the center, the heat from the laser pushes it back.  Then, by moving the laser, you move the particles!

Sweet, huh?

But, I don't foresee a future where our cars have tractor beams (sorry to bum out all of you who are dreaming about it).  Something tells me that there would be too much madness and mayhem and awesomeness if you were able to move whatever was obstructing your path while driving (think traffic jams!?).  It would be really awesome if eventually we could use tractor beams to move really heavy stuff that only machines can currently move like girders and pallets of goods and really annoyingly heavy backpacks...

Okay, enough geeking out for me.  What do you guys think?  Will they develop it?  What will we use it for?

via Physorg


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