Score one for the scientists!
In the ultimate display of fanboy geekery, researchers at Dundee University have turned a longtime wish of Doctor Who fans into a reality: they made a working sonic screwdriver.
The prototype machine has successfully used ultrasound waves to lift and rotate a rubber disc floating in a cylinder of water – the first time ultrasound has been made to turn objects rather than simply push them – but physicists performing the research believe it can achieve a lot more.
“Like Doctor Who’s own device, our sonic screwdriver is capable of much more than just spinning things around,” said Dr Mike MacDonald of the Institute for Medical Science and Technology at Dundee.
Surgeons already use ultrasound to treat patients without the need for surgery, but the ability to steer objects such as drug capsules to precise locations could make the technique even more effective.
“This experiment not only confirms a fundamental physics theory but also demonstrates a new level of control over ultrasound beams which can also be applied to non-invasive ultrasound surgery, targeted drug delivery and ultrasonic manipulation of cells,” said Dr MacDonald.
Although this is not entirely new, Geek.com reported last December on Scientists researching sonic technology at Bristol University who were working towards the same goal, this is the first time we’ve heard word that a successful prototype has been made.
Although still miles away from being able to disrupt Dalek systems or – we would assume – manipulate just about any other electronic device, we always love to see science fiction become science fact. And, once the door is open, who knows how far these advances will go in becoming the multi-purpose gadget of choice for the discerning masses (and Time Lords).
Of course the real question on everyone’s tongue is, “Does it work on wood?”
We’ll see. We’ll see….