Scientists invent water-based 'tractor beam'

  • 12/08/2014

An Australian university has created a device that could confine oil spills in water.

The 'tractor beam' sits on water and has the ability to manipulate floating objects and detect rips at the beach.

AUT Applied Ecology Institute director Professor Steve Pointing says researchers have managed to model the three-dimensional structure of waves, and can manipulate it to move objects around – towards the source of the wave.

He says the applications are potentially enormous.

"If you could scale this up – which is of course an 'if' at the moment – but assuming that's possible, one could influence the movement of ships… but more importantly perhaps with oil spills, there's the potential to contain oil spills if they're heading towards sensitive coastal areas."

Elsewhere in science, scientists in the US have made nanowires only a few billionths of a millimetre across, allowing them to intertwine with living tissue.

It could one day help repair damaged brain cells and neural networks.

Watch the video for the full interview with Steve Pointing.

source: newshub archive