Sound-blasting fire extinguisher

Could this be the end of old-school fire extinguishers? These college kids seem to think so.

A pair of engineering students at George Mason University in Virginia have built a device that puts out fires by literally “dropping the bass” on blazes. The sound waves create pressure that robs a fire of oxygen, snuffing it out.

Scientists have been experimenting for years with the idea of using sound to fight fires, but these two students have figured out how to build a lightweight and portable device that makes “sonic firefighting” practical.

“It’s low-frequency sounds—like the thump-thump bass in hip-hop that works,” Viet Tran said, adding that rappers may soon be called to put out fires in the future.

Tran, along with his friend, Seth Robertson, spent $600 of their own money building a sonic fire extinguisher. The cylindrical prototype uses low-frequency sounds to put out fires, and Tran thinks the device could be built into stovetop hoods to put out kitchen fires.

“Eventually, I’d like to see this applied to swarm robotics,” he said in a YouTube video. “It’d be attached to a drone and that would be applied to forrest fires or building fires where you wouldn’t want to sacrifice a human life.”

Beyond that, the sky’s not even the limit: the engineering students see their device as standard issue on space missions.

“In space, extinguisher contents spread all over. But you can direct sound waves without gravity,” Robertson points out.

The two college seniors have applied for a provisional patent which gives them a year to talk up the invention and test market.

In the meantime, please continue to call 911 in the event of an emergency— don’t just crank up the tunes.

(WATCH the video demonstration below)

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