Scientists use sound waves to levitate, manipulate matter

Scientists use sound waves to levitate, manipulate matter

A team of researchers in Switzerland have developed a way of levitating and transporting small objects using nothing but sound.

Using ultrasonic waves – that is, sound waves whose frequency is too high for humans to hear – scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich have made water droplets, instant coffee crystals, styrofoam flakes, and a toothpick, among other objects, hang in midair, move along a plane, and interact with each other. It is the first time that scientists have been able to use sound to simultaneously levitate several objects next to each other and move them around.

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Scientists use sound waves to levitate, manipulate matter

Although the studies of this are small in scale right now, the implications of this could be magnificent! In our modern society, the only way we have been able to get things off the ground and moving is through internal combustion, which we rely on crude oil to power. But if we could learn how to move things around by using sounds waves, it could tremendously change the way we get around, not to mention it would be way more bad ass!

In the past, scientists have been able to acoustically levitate bits of styrofoam and even small insects and fish. But until now, nobody has figured out how to get acoustically levitated objects to do anything other than just hang there. This is the first studied known to be able to get objects to not only levitate but also move around.

What do you think this study can mean for our society?

Where would you like to see it implemented and what cool things can you think of to do with it?