Although it's now possible to create lab-grown cartilage
, there's still at least one big challenge in doing so – cartilage grown in a flat Petri dish may not be optimally-shaped for replacing the body's own natural cartilage parts. Scientists from a consortium of UK universities, however, are developing a possible solution. They're using "ultrasonic tweezers" to grow cartilage in mid-air.
The tractor beam is a staple of science fiction. Aliens use them to haul up unwilling earthlings onto flying saucers, and spacecraft use them to seize enemy ships or tow captured objects around in space. Now a group of researchers working at the University of Dundee actually claim to have built one. But instead of lasers, it uses ultrasonic waves to pull macroscopic objects in.
A University of Dundee research team led by Prof. Mike MacDonald has demonstrated that both levitation and twisting forces can be applied to an object by application of ultrasonic beams. This latest breakthrough is part of a wide-ranging U.K. research effort
to develop a device not unlike the "sonic screwdriver" made famous by the TV series Doctor Who