Now it is not only the time traveling droid who can use a sonic screwdriver but also the researchers at Dundee University who have invented a machine capable of lifting and rotating a rubber disc with ultrasound waves. Scientists were able to push things with these waves in the past but this is the first time when they have been able to rotate things. Researchers used a helix shaped beam (just like the one found in DNA) of ultrasound waves that causes objects to rotate along the boundary by applying torque on it. The beams are powerful enough to lift and rotate a disk of 90 grams. According to the Mike MacDonald of Institute for Medical Science and Technology, University of Dundee the experiment a new level of control over ultrasonic beams and that can also be used in ultrasonic manipulation of cells.
Ultrasound waves are extensively used for carrying out non-surgical operations and this discovery will help in making such operations more precise. It can be especially beneficial in treating tumors by guiding a drug capsule to the tumor site and then activating it there. While this discovery as of yet may not be able to perform medical scans and pick locks it open new possibilities in targeted cellular surgery and drug delivery. Notably, the sonic screwdriver is also a part of EU-funded nanoporation project and UK-wide Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (called as sonotweezers).