If we told you that fighting fire with sound waves was not new, would you believe us? The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has tried it before, but two students from George Mason University made that theory a reality. Viet Tran and Seth Robertson turned an interesting principle into a practical device.
How does it work?
You know the feeling when dubstep music rattles your ears and your body? Those deep bass sounds inspired these young engineers to create just that. Their gizmo is portable and it’s designed to focus sound waves in a certain direction instead of spreading them.
Sound waves can manipulate oxygen and burning material. Once the two elements separate, the fire dies. Think of a sound wave like pressure. Pressure removes oxygen from air molecules; without oxygen, there is no fuel for a fire. Seems like a simple formula that has definitely been tested multiple times. It’s hard to say for sure what frequency is truest for success. In the end, Tran and Robertson discovered that high-pitched tones could not put out the flames. It is with low-frequency bass sounds between 30 and 60 Hz that does the trick. So for all you deep bass lovers of hip hop, dub, dubstep, d&b, trap or grime, blasting your music in the event of a fire may not be such a bad thing.
An amplifier and a cardboard collimator produce a parallel beam of particles or waves. This focuses the sound. The pair’s latest prototype is 9 kg and cost them about $600 to develop.
Now working on developing the device on a larger scale, Seth and Viet aim to help with forest fires. Their gadget seems accessible and triumphant over small burnings, but if there’s a potential to help the masses, why not? It can detect a 12″ fire, extinguish it, and serve as an alternate to traditional fire extinguishers. This is a great anti-fire system that will protect surrounding equipment and personnel.
Watch the demo below and let us know what you think!