Ultrasonic levitation has always been on the radar for many scientists, but the development of the technique has been stalled due to the impracticality of moving objects along a singular axis. Researchers at the University of Tokyo, Yoichi Ochiai, Takayuki Hoshi and Jun Rekimoto, have pushed passed the uncertainties, demonstrating to the world that ultrasonic beams can move items in 3D space. They designed a machine that manipulates the waves’ properties to levitate and lift any object caught inside the focal point, which is determined by the four phased arrays and set at an arbitrary position.
While the technology is only capable of lifting minuscule objects at this point, it has opened the doors for future developments and improvements in ultrasonic suspension. We can hope to see bigger projects in the years to come – and maybe even a hovercraft if we’re lucky.
See how the particles are trapped in nodes of the horizontal and vertical waves below.