TG Daily reports scientists from the Australian National University have created new "optical tweezers" that can move tiny objects over a distance of a meter and a half. It's not as awesome as the tractor beams from science fiction flicks like Star Trek, but it has several useful applications, like micro-manipulation or non-touch handling of samples:
Unfortunately, the laser beam won’t work in the vacuum of space. But
there are plenty of applications here on Earth, says Rode.
"These include directing and clustering nano-particles in air, the micro-manipulation of objects, sampling of atmospheric aerosols, and low contamination, non-touch handling of sampling materials," he says.
"On top of this, the laser beam could be used for the transport of dangerous substances and microbes, in small amounts."