Scientists are on the brink of bringing Star Trek technology to life with a fully functioning tractor beam. The ultrasonic beam, built by a research team at Australian National University, has been able to successfully move small objects with the power of sound. Researchers focused two ultrasonic beams on a single target and managed to pull the item toward them by bouncing sound waves off it and scattering them in opposite directions.
A Real-Life Holodeck
Another piece of Star Trek technology that may be possible with the use of sound waves is the holodeck. Holograms are nothing new and have been used to bring musical icons back to life on stage, but recently technology has managed to take things a step further. A team of engineers at the University of Bristol are developing what they call UltraHaptics technology, which will be able to create a working hologram with tactile sensations. In other words, people would be able to actually interact with fully functioning holograms. In one example, researchers suggest a mechanic with dirty hands can easily flip through the holographic pages of a manual. Still a far cry from Star Trek’s holodeck, but, nonetheless, showing potential of some version of the holodeck being made in the future.