Doctor Who's trusted sonic screwdriver could become a real-life tool

Written by: Abdul Nisar
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London, Dec 5 (ANI): For all those fans of Doctor Who's who have dreamed of owning a sonic screwdriver of their own after watching their hero use the tool to get himself out of many sticky situations, there's a reason to celebrate.

British engineers have developed a device that is capable of moving and manipulating objects using only ultrasonic sound waves.

They said that the technology could eventually lead to devices that can undo screws, assemble electronics and putting together delicate components.

But while the Doctor's device can perform a multitude of tasks from cutting, burning, welding, sending signals, controlling the TARDIS, altering mobile phones and healing wounds, the researchers warn their real life sonic screwdriver will have more limited capabilities.

"We have developed a device that allows us to use ultrasonic forces to move small objects like biological cells around to sort them or to assemble them," the Telegraph quoted Bruce Drinkwater, of the University of Bristol, as saying.

"We are using quite low forces to do this because we don't want to damage the objects we are moving, but the technology is definitely real and there is potential to turn it into something like Dr Who's sonic screwdriver.

"If we can increase the ultrasonic force and create a rotational force, then we could potentially undo screws. Essentially what you are doing is using the ultrasonic sound wave to twirl the air around to create an miniature tornado," he said.

Drinkwater and his colleagues have created a prototype device, which they have called sonotweezers that uses ultrasound to move around particular sizes of cells.

Tiny crystals are made to vibrate by passing an electrical current through them, producing an ultrasonic shock wave in the air around them.

This shock wave generates a force that can be used to push the cells. The size of the shock wave can be tuned to move cells of different size and so separate diseased cells from healthy ones.

Their device can also be used to separate dangerous material such as anthrax from other powder using the same technique.

Professor Drinkwater claimed that by increasing the size of the shock wave and creating a rotational motion, it will be possible to create a kind of ultrasonic "force field" that would have the power to undo screws. (ANI)

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