All About That Bass: Students Harness Sound Waves to Extinguish Kitchen Fires

By Mike Pomranz |

Never throw water on a grease fire. Instead, just blare your favorite hip-hop song at it.

Okay, the latter advice isn’t completely accurate, but by the looks of this device it’s not that far off, either.  A couple of senior engineering students at George Mason University recently developed a way to harness the power of sound waves—specifically bass—to put out fires.

In the video above, you can see the duo’s invention almost instantaneously extinguishing a fire in a pan with nothing more than a loud blatt that wouldn’t be entirely out of place on a Wu-Tang Clan song. “I see this device being applied to a lot of things,” says Viet Tran, one of the two inventors. “First off, in the kitchen, I think it could be on top of a stovetop.”

Along with co-designer Seth Robertson, the two students already have a preliminary patent on their device, which basically works by creating a steady blast of air caused by the hum of the bass waves. Since the only cooling from the current model comes from the movement of air, it’s unknown how effective the device might be on other types of fires where residual heat could cause hot objects to reignite. But Robertson and Tran say they’re dedicated to continuing to develop this technology, hoping it might one day even be used to fight building and forest fires.

And if that doesn’t work out, they could always join Skrillex on tour filling out those huge bass drops.

Related: Why Your Takeout Won't Fool the Thai Tasting Robot 
The Sound Food Makes When You Eat It Can Enhance Its Flavor 
Scientists Know What is So Special About Indian Food