Star Trek–inspired tractor beam could enable contact-free, targeted drug delivery


The amazing gizmos popularized by the Star Trek franchise continue to inspire the imaginations of scientists. PlasticsToday has reported on the Qualcomm Tricorder X-Prize competition currently underway, in which inventors of all stripes attempt to turn Dr. McCoy's iconic device into a functioning handheld universal diagnostic tool. Ten finalists remain in the running with a winner to be announced in January 2016. Now, researchers at the universities of Sussex and Bristol in the United Kingdom, in collaboration with startup company Ultrahaptics (Bristol, UK), have succeeded in building a version of the tractor beam that moves objects via sound waves. The invention could have applications in inner as well as outer space: The researchers envision a miniature version of the device that could perform drug delivery and microsurgical operations.
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