How To Make Your Own Star Trek Style Tractor Beam! [Video]

By Adam | How To
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Image credit: Asier Marzo

You just have to see this video below, its one of the most awesome things I’ve ever seen, no really!

It’s a DIY project that you can tackle at the weekend and it involves making your very own sonic tractor beam! You can actually control objects with the power of sound waves and you can do it for less than $70!

If you’re good a DIY and prepared to do a bit of soldering etc then you can find instructions to build it by computer scientist Asier Marzo. All you need are some electronic components and a 3D printer.

According to ScienceAlert, Marzo was part of the team that invented the first ever hand-held tractor beam device which was able to move objects around in mid air without actual physical contact.

“Previously we developed a tractor beam, but it was very complicated and pricey because it required a phase array, which is a complex electronic system,” says Marzo. “[Now we’ve] made a simple, static tractor beam that only requires a static piece of matter.”

Moving objects with sound is nothing new. Just place a pint glass next to a really loud speaker, but moving objects around in the way tractor beams do, is pretty awesome. It basically surrounds points of low acoustic pressure with high-intensity sound that we humans can’t hear, effectively trapping objects in a kind of sound cage.

To construct the tractor beam, you’ll need a 3D printer, an Arduino Nano, a mesh of 30 transducers, and a number of electronic components. It’s not too costly though as all the materials can be bought for less than $60.

Check out the YouTube video below, along with step-by-step instructions. The theory behind it has also been published in the Applied Physics Letters.