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Physicists Create Water Tractor Beam

Physicists at The Australian National University have created a tractor beam on water, providing a radical new technique that could confine oil spills, manipulate floating objects or explain rips at the beach.

The group discovered they can control water flow patterns with simple wave generators, enabling them to move floating objects at will. Advanced particle tracking tools revealed that the waves generate currents on the surface of the water.

“We have figured out a way of creating waves that can force a floating object to move against the direction of the wave,” said Dr Horst Punzmann, from the Research School of Physics and Engineering, who led the project.

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Also: Learn about a Floating Oil-Spill Containment Device.