NASA Is Using Hoverboard Technology to Make a Real-Life Tractor Beam

Friday, 04 September 2015 - 4:20PM
Technology
Science News
Physics
Friday, 04 September 2015 - 4:20PM
NASA Is Using Hoverboard Technology to Make a Real-Life Tractor Beam
Will we someday be able to say "Beam me up, Scotty" in real life? NASA has just teamed up with Arx Pax, the company that (sort of) built a hoverboard, in order to create a magnetic tractor beam that will be able to manipulate objects from a distance.

Last year, Arx Pax unveiled their hoverboard, which was essentially just a piece of plywood that could hover for three minutes before its battery died out. It was rudimentary, at least as hoverboards go, and certainly wasn't anything like our Back to the Future daydreams. It was more a proof-of-concept than anything else, but was still fairly groundbreaking. It worked by rapidly magnetizing the ground below it, which was limiting for the hoverboard itself, as it meant that it could only work on certain highly conductive surfaces, but the magnetizing technology could potentially help NASA create a tractor beam a la Star Trek.


Advertisement



Opening quote
"Arx Pax and NASA will work together to design a device with the ability to attract one object to another from a distance," Arx Pax representatives said in a statement.
Closing quote


NASA and Arx Pax aim to use the hover engine technology in order to create a magnetic tractor beam that can control the movements of micro-satellites called CubeSats, which fly in low-Earth orbit and are used for space research. If NASA can coordinate the spacecrafts without touching them, the technology will have significant implications for everything from climate research to the study of deep space objects.

Opening quote
"CubeSats are in close proximity already," Arx Pax founder and CFO Greg Henderson told Gizmodo. "We're trying to figure out how do you link them together, connect them, and move them around relative to one another."
Closing quote


It is unknown exactly how they plan to make this tractor beam, or how far the beam will be able to extend, but their goal, at least, is for the magnetized beam to work very much like Star Trek:

Opening quote
"NASA realized that this is a fundamental tool," said Henderson. "What we're providing NASA is a way of manipulating objects in space without touching them."
Closing quote
Science
NASA
Technology
Science News
Physics

Load Comments