Dr Who fans know that the Doctor didn’t go anywhere without his trusty sonic screwdriver. His whiz toy did everything from fix the wiring on the TARDIS to fix electronic devices and blast aliens.
Well, my fine Dr. Who fans, engineers are developing a version of a sonic screwdriver like device. While the this model won’t be quite as handy as the Doctor’s, this real sonic screwdriver can move and manipulate objects and could someday be upgraded into a gadget that can remove screws, put together electronic parts and fix other delicate gear. The tool uses ultrasonic sound waves, just like the one on the popular television program.
Trials are being done in which the device is used to gently remove diseased cells from the surrounding healthy ones. It can also be used to do things like separate dangerous materials like anthrax from other less dangerous materials.
According to Professor Bruce Drinkwater, an ultrasonic engineer with the project, the frequencies are low now so they won’t hurt the healthy cells. He said if they are able to bring up the frequencies and make a rotational force, the screwdriver could take off screws using sound waves to twirl around the air around the screws to get them off. He added that the air would have to be made to move very quickly so enough force would be applied to remove the screws, as well as introduce some sort of dense gas to create the needed friction.
Drinkwater will attending a British science and engineering event called The Big Bang that is expected to highlight some of the latest and greatest in technological experimentation in London March 10 -12.