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Technologies that previously could only be found in science fiction films and books are becoming more and more real every year. Scientists have long been able to lift small objects into the air with the help of invisible sound waves, and this will surprise only very few people. However, researchers from the UK and Spain took the technology to a new level – they forced several subjects to be levitated at once. The most interesting thing is that each of these objects can be controlled separately, as shown in the video.
Details about the technology revealed Professor Asier Marzo from the Department of Mechanical Engineering in Bristol. He said that the ability to individually control each levitating object appeared after creating a special sound modulator. It consists of 256 tiny speakers that, to hold each object, reproduce the sound of a different frequency.
At the moment, a sound modulator is able to simultaneously hold 25 objects in the air. Professor Marzo noted that by creating a modulator with an increased number of speakers, it is possible to achieve that more than 100 objects will levitate in the air.
In the future, such “acoustic tweezers” may become an important part of a new generation of displays showing 3D images. For example, he will be able to hold thousands of small cubes in the air, which will play the role of pixels and form into a variety of 3D shapes.
The technology can also be useful in medicine – for example, for moving drugs inside the body or performing surgical operations. It is believed that inside the body objects will move much easier than in the air due to the liquid medium.
The ability of sound waves to move objects has been used many times by scientists. In September 2018, they created a special printer that can use any liquid, down to molten metal.
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