The tractor beam, a beloved staple of science fiction, has been inching closer and closer to reality. We’ve got physicists building optical beams that can pull micro-scale balls through water. NASA and Arx Pax (of “hoverboard” fame) are building a magnetic tractor beam that can control satellites. The latest…
You don't need to be a beach bum to understand waves: they move objects along with them, pushing boats and swimmers to the shore. There's even a name for it, the Stokes drift model. But for the first time, physicists have figured out how to do the opposite, using waves to bring a floating object backward to the source…
Spaceships can't pull in foreign objects with a almost-magical tractor beam yet, but researchers have been making progress towards that goal. Scientists have now shown that tractor beams are possible, and can actually work. For microscopic objects over microscopic distances at least.
We've been waiting for honest-to-goodness tractor beams since Shatner was still sitting in the captain's chair. Now—finally—NASA's investing real cash money to spur the development of Zero Point technology.
Have you ever lazily wished you could just use a tractor beam to grab that out-of-reach object? Apparently, you can. Using only light, Australian researchers say they are able to move small particles almost five feet through the air.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a method of arranging cells on a microchip using what they call "optical tweezers." These optical tweezers consist of a fine tuned beam of laser light, which moves cells around on the chip.