The fire extinguisher is a staple in every building, school, and most homes for the simple fact that this technology has been the leading way to put out a fire. Even though the chemicals used in a standard fire extinguisher are not toxic per se, the chemicals can be dangerous, and very messy. Two undergraduate research students from George Mason University in Virginia have created a safer, and tidier way, of putting out fires: sound waves.
The idea of using soundwaves to put out fires was not unique to these researches, but they were the first to make any substantial improvements on the technology. The US Department Advanced Research Projects Agency has attempted this in the past without success. While the device only works on small fires right now, it is the first of its kind to be created with success.
After many trials of using high-pitched sound waves, the researchers discovered that low sound waves were actually the key. The device uses a low-frequency bass sound between 30 and 60 Hz. This frequency will be familiar as it is frequently heard in hip-hop or dubstep music. The prototype itself only cost $600 to make. The researchers completed their undergraduate work with this project, but continue to work on its improvement for wide use on large scale fires as well as small ones.