There are many technologies that “Star Trek” anticipated, although sadly for horny lonely people and thankfully for the continued existence of the human race, the Holodeck remains fiction. But hey, we’ve got a tractor beam! Well, the start of one.
Here’s how it works: glass particles are placed in a “hollow” laser; that is, it’s bright on the outside and dim on the inside, much like the Gamma Squad staff after tequila shooters. As a result, convection begins inside the laser, pushing the particles upwards. If a particle drifts away from the center, the agitated air molecules from the bright part of the laser push it back towards the center.
OK, OK, so we’re not going to be hauling Toyotas into orbit anytime soon, but it’s still pretty neat. Besides, it’s moving stuff with light, which has huge implications for telecommunications, nanoassembly, and other tools of the future.
Yeah, we know, we want to haul the Toyotas into orbit too. Someday!
[ via DVice ]