September 14, 2015

Wormholes, or Einstein-Rosen Bridges, have been a thing of theory and science-fiction since Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen theorized their existence some 80 years ago. However, a scientist by the name of Jordi Prat-Camps and a team of research physicists at the Autonomous University of Barcelona successfully created a wormhole in a lab using the magnetic properties of different materials to form a tubular zone that can transport magnetic energy from one place to another without any detection of the energy transversing between the two points.

These aren’t the kind of wormholes you learned about on Star Trek: they simply cloak the transmission of magnetic energy as it moves from point A to point B.  But discovering how to do that could lead to a different Star Trek-inspired invention: the team believes this might lead to the creation of a cloaking device for materials.

The research team sees another practical usage in the near future: significant upgrades to MRI machines. Magnetic Resonance Imaging works well, but only for individuals who can sit still in tight spaces for prolonged periods of time. But with this technology, Prat-Camps believes that MRI machines could be made much larger and therefore more user-friendly for small children and those with claustrophobia.

Prat-Camps has some innovative ideas for how these new MRI machines would look, as well as function:

“There’s no way to know if similar magnetic wormholes lurk in space, but the technology could have applications on Earth. For instance, magnetic resonance imaging machines use a giant magnet and require people to be in a tightly enclosed central tube for diagnostic imaging. If a device could funnel a magnetic field from one spot to the other, it would be possible to take pictures of the body with the strong magnet placed far away, freeing people from the claustrophobic environment of an MRI machine. A sphere is the simplest shape to model, but a cylindrical outer shell would be the most useful. If you want to apply this to medical techniques or medical equipment, for sure you will be interested in directing toward any given direction. A spherical shape is not the most practical geometry.”

You can read the complete article at Live Science.