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Home / News / Engage the tractor beam – for real

Engage the tractor beam – for real

Scientists create a beam that uses light to attract objects – with doctors first in line to use it

Chalk up another win for science – it’s managed to bring one of Hollywood’s many inventions to life in the form of Star Trek’s tractor beam.

Scientists from the University of St Andrews have managed to use light to attract objects – albeit only on a microscopic scale right now. Still, in the future, it could be ideal for medical applications like separating cells in the body.

Unfortunately, that’s the limit for now – the transfer of energy involved in the process means that you won’t be towing a car any time soon. Unless you want to vapourise it.

You probably won’t see tractor beam being used in any practical applications for several years – so for now check out the materials that are changing the world now.

[via BBC]

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Profile image of Dan Grabham Dan Grabham Editor-in-Chief


Dan is Editor-in-chief of Stuff, working across the magazine and the Stuff.tv website.  Our Editor-in-Chief is a regular at tech shows such as CES in Las Vegas, IFA in Berlin and Mobile World Congress in Barcelona as well as at other launches and events. He has been a CES Innovation Awards judge. Dan is completely platform agnostic and very at home using and writing about Windows, macOS, Android and iOS/iPadOS plus lots and lots of gadgets including audio and smart home gear, laptops and smartphones. He's also been interviewed and quoted in a wide variety of places including The Sun, BBC World Service, BBC News Online, BBC Radio 5Live, BBC Radio 4, Sky News Radio and BBC Local Radio.

Areas of expertise

Computing, mobile, audio, smart home