It may sound like a superpower, but believe it or not it is a gadget which actually exists, and has been coined the ‘wave extinguisher’. Seth Robertson and Viet Tran, two engineering student entrepreneurs at George Mason University initially came up with the idea for a research project. However, they stuck with it for a year and after lots of trial and error -- they seem to have hit gold.
They have managed to build a portable sound generator with an amplifier that is connected to a power source. It is able to omit booming bass sounds which deprive the flames of the oxygen they need and as a result, completely extinguishes the fire in an instant.
Sounds pretty interesting, but how does it work? Well, as a music note gets deeper, the amount of air needed to produce it increases. The sound waves that are omitted from the gadget displace some of the oxygen and as the sound waves get deeper they separate the oxygen from the fuel. Therefore, the fire is unable to reignite as it does not have the oxygen it needs.
Back in November, the guys applied for a provisional patent which allows them to do further testing on other flammable chemicals for a year. So far, they have only managed to put out fires started with rubbing alcohol but they hope that a further year of testing will allow them to explore the limitations of the gadget so that they can find out just how useful something like this can be. In fact, a local fire department have already asked them to test the wave extinguisher on a structure fire as they think it could replace the toxic chemicals that are found in traditional fire extinguishers.
We can imagine that this was quite surprising for the pair, as they originally thought that their device could only be used to attack kitchen fires, but perhaps the device could have more uses?
In an interview with the Guardian Viet Tran said “we still want to do a lot more testing to see if we need to change the frequency to extinguish other materials before plunking down thousands of dollars for a patent.”
Well, consider us intrigued! We think this is a fantastic idea and are really excited to see what the future holds for the ‘wave extinguisher’. It could do amazing things and if you want to see it in action, watch the video below to see some fascinating results!
Students' Invention Fights Fires
Mason university Students have invented a gadget that uses sound waves to extinguish fires.