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Sci-Fi United Kingdom Technology

Dr. Who's Sonic Screwdriver a Step Closer To Reality 94

cylonlover writes "A University of Dundee research team led by Prof. Mike MacDonald has demonstrated that both levitation and twisting forces can be applied to an object by application of ultrasonic beams. The team of physicists at the University of Dundee in Scotland (with associates at Bristol University in England) have succeeded in generating an ultrasonic vortex beam strong enough to lift and rotate a rubber disk submerged in water. This latest breakthrough is part of a wide-ranging U.K. research effort to develop a device not unlike the "sonic screwdriver" made famous by the TV series Doctor Who." We covered the beginning of the sonic screwdriver project by Bristol University engineers a little over a year ago.
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Dr. Who's Sonic Screwdriver a Step Closer To Reality

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  • Pedantic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Monday April 30, 2012 @12:00PM (#39846049) Homepage

    Sorry, I'm going to be a little pedantic here, but the sonic screwdriver doesn't really have any set of capabilities to emulate. Something like the tricorder at least has some vague definition-- it's a set of sensors that can tell you about the material composition and structure of items at a distance.

    But the sonic screwdriver? How the device works is something like, "point it at anything in order to get the writers out of the corner they've painted themselves into". There's nothing that it can not do, except apparently that it doesn't work on wood. How are you going to build that, and how will you know when you've succeeded?

  • SONIC screwdriver? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Haedrian ( 1676506 ) on Monday April 30, 2012 @12:23PM (#39846311)

    "Dr. Who's Sonic Screwdriver a Step Closer To Reality"

    "application of ultrasonic beams"

    Surely what we're making here is an ultrasonic screwdriver.

A committee is a group that keeps the minutes and loses hours. -- Milton Berle