back to article The Register Lecture: How to build your own tractor beam

Levitation and tractor beams are the stuff of science fiction legend. Think Marty McFly’s hoverboard from Steven Spielberg’s Back to the Future II in 1989, or any number of Star Trek episodes. The real-world application of such technology, however, has been limited by the size of the object you can control. Until now, as a …

  1. Paul Herber Silver badge

    Oi can't read and Oi can't write,

    but Oi don't care

    'cos Oi comes from ******shire

    and Oi can droive a tractor beam.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well, I've got a brand new warpdrive harvester and I'll give you the key.

    2. macjules

      Oi’ve seen a cow grin and and even seen a sheep smile, but Oi never seen no tractor beam.

      1. Chemical Bob

        Re: Oi never seen no tractor beam

        Next time lube the rear end first...

  2. Daedalus

    40MHz ultrasonic waves

    I don't think so. Try 40 kHz.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 40MHz ultrasonic waves

      Certainly not for bats at least, as a quick google lookup would have told you. Biology is generally not compatible with MHz range physics anyway.

    2. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge

      Re: 40MHz ultrasonic waves

      Yes, the paper clearly states 40kHz. What's 3 orders of magnitude among friends?

  3. MikeGH

    event buy link appears broken

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      missing a "6" on the end:

      You're welcome.

    2. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      It's been fixed! Sorry about that.


      1. teknopaul Silver badge

        new reg feature?

        Right mouse click > edit > submit pull request -m "that'll be kilo not mega".

  4. Fading

    Weirding module here we come.....


    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Weirding module here we come.....

      That should spice things up nicely...

      Coat? Sure. Mine's the one with the tube hanging off the front so I can drink my own re-cycled weewee.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Weirding module here we come.....

        Muad'Dib doesn't need a weirding module !

      2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

        Re: Weirding module here we come.....

        Errrrmm I hate to have to mention this....

        "Kynes knelt, examined the leg seals. “Urine and feces are processed in the thigh pads,” he said, and stood up, felt the neck fitting, lifted a sectioned flap there. “In the open desert, you wear this filter across your face, this tube in the nostrils with these plugs to insure a tight fit. Breathe in through the mouth filter, out through the nose tube. With a Fremen suit in good working order, you won’t lose more than a thimbleful of moisture a day—even if you’re caught in the Great Erg.”"

  5. aregross

    Still won't work... in SPAAAACE! (where there's no air to couple the 40kHz sound waves)

    1. Oengus

      Beat me to it...

      Now If I did the maths correctly a 36GHz radio wave gives a 0.83cm wavelength the similar to the wavelength of a 40kHz sound wave. I wonder if Electromagnetic waves can do the same as sound waves or is it the moving air that does the levitation like this.

  6. Mark 110

    Transporter (to pub) please?

    Surely the transporter is the leap forward. What use is an attraction device (tractor beam) compared to being able to instantly transport oneself from work to pub!!

    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Transporter (to pub) please?

      I teleported home one night With Ron and Sid and Meg.

      Ron stole Meggie's heart away

      And I got Sidney's leg.

    2. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Transporter (to pub) please?

      Pull the pub closer.

  7. Chozo

    Happy Memories

    I first became aware of the acoustic levitation phenomena many years ago at Hawkwind gig in a muddy field near Tewksbury. My friend was attempting to construct an oversize herbal cigarette using the only dry flat space he could find. The port of a subwoofer!

    1. Chris G

      Re: Happy Memories

      Ah, Hawkwind and herbal cigarettes! It's hard to get times like that anymore.

      On a more modern note; I don't suppose the good Doctor Marzo would consider a weekend lecture in Ibiza?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Build one? Sod that.

    I'll wait until they're pre-made and on the shelves at Maplin.

    1. zapper

      Is that before or after all the Maplin shops close?

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        If Maplin's sold a tractor beam, that may well get them out of bankruptcy alone.

        More likely though they'll sell you a cheap Chinese knockoff at 200% markup while a spotty teenager tries to get you to buy a box, some batteries and the windscreen for a Ford Anglia "to go with it".

  9. Overflowing Stack


    Surely this could be done with laser beams? What? No? Oh, Frickin laser beams!

  10. emmawaston79

    Sonic tractor beams employ loudspeakers to create acoustic holograms that can hold, spin, and move items in midair. Researchers battled for years to lift items greater than half the sound's wavelength.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Could you please rephrase the sentence "Regarding the transportation to the pub, may I request?"

    One night, I teleported back home with Ron, Sid, and Meg.

    Ron managed to win Meggie's heart,

    While I ended up with Sidney's leg.

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