Doctor Who’s sonic screwdriver could become a reality

Darren Allan

December 7, 2010

Anyone who watches Doctor Who will be familiar with the infamous sonic screwdriver.

It’s the Doc’s equivalent of the old Batman’s utility belt, and when there’s only minutes left in an episode, and all seems lost for mankind, it’s the ultimate multi-purpose device he can pull out to have a quick twiddle with a panel to co-regulate the methylnoptic synapse strands of a Dalek mothership to cause a para-warp dimension bubble which detonates the craft before it can destroy the Earth. He also uses it to heat up his fish fingers for tea.

And now it seems that scientists in real life have developed some manner of device which can interact with and manipulate objects physically using just ultra sound waves, a report in the Telegraph states.

Professor Bruce Drinkwater of Bristol University told the paper: “We have developed a device that allows us to use ultrasonic forces to move small objects like biological cells around to sort them or to assemble them.”

“We are using quite low forces to do this because we don’t want to damage the objects we are moving, but the technology is definitely real and there is potential to turn it into something like Dr Who’s sonic screwdriver.”

So the not-too-distant future might see some sort of actual sonic screwdriver coming into usage, although it won’t be nearly as multi-purpose as Doctor Who’s version (or as handy for script writers who’ve boxed themselves into a corner).

Never mind the screwdriver, anyway, let’s get cracking on the real hardware, the Tardis. We’ve already got a working schematic drawn up for our own prototype version. All you need is one telephone box, a large plastic tube, some Christmas lights, four assorted levers, a calculator, an Atari 2600, a typewriter, fifty square metres of bubble wrap and two litre bottles of vodka.

Some quick DIY and copious imbibing later, and before you know it, you’ll be back in fifteenth century London. Or it’ll certainly smell like it.


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