DARPA's list of projects reads like a sci-fi writer's dream. The federal agency has studied flying cars, starships, and cyborg insects. Now you can add a magic wand flame suppressant to the agenda.
A Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency research team at Harvard University created a handheld electrode that puts out fire with no water, chemicals, or smothering.
Details are sketchy as to how exactly the Harvard wand, whose technology may eventually find its way into fire suppression systems for military ships and vehicles, works. We do know, however, that the Instant Fire Suppression program is looking at the feasibility of using electromagnetic fields, ion injection, and acoustics to put out flames. As DARPA so poetically explains, flames are just "cold plasmas comprising mobile electrons and slower positive ions."
There's something very Harry Potter-ish about the flame suppression wand. I almost expected to hear a scientist muttering, "Aguamenti!" during the demonstration video, below.… Read more