Scientists use sound waves to levitate objects in three dimensions

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Scientists at the University of Tokyo and the Nagoya Institute of Technology were recently able to levitate small items in three dimensions using only sound waves. While it’s not uncommon for sound waves to be used to lift lightweight objects, the researchers are able to move those objects around in space by aiming ultrasonic phased arrays at a focal point.

Items that qualify for sound wave levitation include a feather, alcohol droplets, soap bubbles and a small electronic resistor – or in other words, nothing too large or heavy. It may not seem like much but it’s a big step forward in terms of levitation research R&D.

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