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Tractor beams arrive two centuries early

Trekkie devices developed on small scale by U.S. and Chinese physicists

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4:48pm, March 10, 2011

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Another piece of Star Trek technology has become a reality. Captain Kirk would instantly recognize new blueprints developed by a team of Chinese scientists as plans for a tractor beam.

The proposed device hasn’t yet been built. But a similar one conceived by an American physicist was tested last year. Each device would fulfill the science fiction dream of reeling in objects using light — though neither could move anything bigger than a bacterium, much less a starship.

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