For years the term “tractor beam” has been synonymous with the science fiction technology that we see in movies, television or read about in books. Tractor beams are basically beams of energy that have the ability to move objects or pull objects closer to the source of the beam. Some fictional examples of tractor beams include the Enterprise in “Star Trek” and the common theory that flying saucers have the ability to lift people into their ships through a tractor beam at their base. But now, tractor beams may become part of real life the same way mobile phones have become part of real life, even though they were once considered science fiction as well.
The emerging tractor beam technology seems to be starting with a sonic tractor beam created by British scientists which has the ability to turn, levitate, pull and push objects. This beam is dependent on a sequence of sound waves that are timed precisely in order to create an area of low pressure which can trap objects that are small. Then the sound waves are used to move the objects around as they please. However, this technology can only work on small objects at the moment. British scientists and researchers from the University of Sussex and the University of Bristol have been able to move particles that have a diameter of up to 3.1 mm. In order to do this, they used acoustic transducers to create acoustic force fields that could move these objects. Even though these objects are small, it makes scientists wonder how this technology can be advanced into other areas later on down the road. For example, this tractor beam technology could be used to manipulate cells within the human body and cause them to move too. This could do wonders for treating patients and advancing modern medicine.
This tractor beam technology is still in its infancy stage. Speculation surrounding it suggests that law enforcement officers of the future will be able to have non-lethal weapons using this technology that can stop attackers or suspects at close range. As the technology grows into moving bigger objects, the possibilities are endless. The military could build bases through acoustic force fields or catch planes in the air that are about to crash on the ground. We might not even have to fight wars anymore with boots on the ground because we will eventually have the ability to move objects on the ground through a tractor beam in outer space.