This article was published on August 11, 2014

This water-based tractor beam could be used to contain oil slicks in the future


This water-based tractor beam could be used to contain oil slicks in the future
Jon Russell
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Jon Russell

Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on T Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on Twitter, Angel List, LinkedIn.

A tractor beam could be the future of containing oil slicks. That’s according to professors at Australian National University (ANU) who have shown off a prototype that moves objects floating on the surface of water independently of waves.

The group’s advanced particle tracking tools were able to move a ping-pong ball in a wave tank in a range of directions, or keep it entirely still. The technology uses simple wave generators which could be scaled to tackle more serious problems in the ocean, such as collecting floating objects, moving small boats or containing oil slicks, so says ANU professor Michael Shats.

➤ Nature.com | via CNET

Thumbnail image via Chris Wilkins / AFP / Getty Images