Moving levitation with sound waves now possible

By gliding a globule of metal sodium (left) into a droplet of water (right), engineers demonstrate how to safely handle hazardous chemicals using acoustic levitation. Courtesy of Daniele Foresti

Acoustic Levitation (levitation with sound) isn't new to the science community but up or down is boring and limited in application. As you can see from the video above scientists from ETH Zurich have now been able to successfully manoeuvre bigger objects than just particles like toothpicks and coffee granules.

This is achieved through aluminium plates rapidly moving up and down which through sound waves up in the air. However at the top is a plexiglas reflectors and so the waves are refracted back down toward the plates and cancel each other out in the middle, allowing for objects to be suspended. Movement happens from adjusting the rates of each little aluminium plate and so move this pocket of cancelled out waves around taking the object with it.

The advantage of this is as before with magnetic levitation the objects has to be magnetic, obviously being a drawback, however if they are able to replicate this on a larger scale I would be excited to see them moving people, if they sound wasn't so deafening to them.

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