Seth Robertson and Viet Tran, two graduates of the electrical and computer engineering department at George Mason University, developed a sonic fire extinguisher that manipulates sound waves to put out fires using a mobile subwoofer gun. At just the right frequency – between 30 and 60Hz – the oscillation of sound waves creates a vacuum that separates air molecules from the sounds of the flame, cutting off the fire’s oxygen supply and putting out the flame. This fire extinguishing technique offers a cleaner and less destructive way to combat fires than the traditional use of fluids and chemicals, which can lead to additional property damage and health risks.

While the sonic fire extinguisher is initially intended to be used on small fires such as grease fires inside kitchens, Robertson and Tran envision the technology could one day help combat forest fires by attaching them to fleets of drones.

See the sonic fire extinguisher in action: