A pair of engineering students at George Mason University in Virginia managed to create a fire extinguisher that operates using sound waves.
This started as an idea for a senior research project, and after a year’s worth of tinkering (and spending $600 of their own money), Seth Robertson and Viet Tran created something fully functional, the Washington Post reports. As you’ll see in the clip above, the portable device puts out a blaze in mere seconds.
Sound waves are also “pressure waves, and they displace some of the oxygen,” Tran told the Washington Post, explaining how the apparatus works. At the right frequency, the sound waves “separate the oxygen [in the fire] from the fuel,” he said. “The pressure wave is going back and forth, and that agitates where the air is. That specific space is enough to keep the fire from reigniting.”
After quite a bit of trial and error, Tran and Robertson found the frequency that worked. Before applying for a patent, though, the engineers plan to do a lot more testing. Stay tuned for the day when you’ll be able to use this in your kitchen.