Sound waves can be utilized to maintain an object hovering within the air, and a brand new method works even in crowded areas
17 June 2022
Ultrasonic sound waves have been used to levitate objects in crowded rooms to make hologram-like shows. Such acoustic levitation was beforehand solely sensible in empty areas, however a brand new algorithm can rapidly readjust the sound waves after they encounter an impediment to maintain the thing within the air.
Sound waves are comprised of air particles shifting collectively. If manipulated in the suitable method, they’ll choose up and transfer objects. However, if the sound waves run into another object that displays or scatters them, the levitating object can come tumbling down.
Ryuji Hirayama at University College London and his colleagues beforehand used sound to levitate glowing beads to create floating 3D shapes. Now, they’ve developed a computational method that permits them to levitate and manipulate objects above bumpy surfaces and close to objects.
Hirayama and his colleagues used 256 small loudspeakers organized in a grid to levitate objects with exactly formed ultrasound waves. When these sound waves encountered objects that may often scatter them, like a wall or a houseplant, a pc algorithm rapidly adjusted their form to keep up levitation.
The researchers demonstrated their method by 3D printing a small plastic rabbit, then levitating objects close to it. In one experiment, they made illuminated beads fly across the rabbit within the form of a butterfly whose wings may very well be managed by the movement of a researchers fingers.
In one other, they levitated a bit of almost clear material above the rabbit and made it spin whereas a projector solid pictures of the rabbit onto it. The consequence was a seemingly 3D rabbit hologram hovering above its plastic counterpart.
They additionally levitated a drop of paint over a glass of water. This confirmed that their algorithm works even when suspending objects that may change form above a floor that may wiggle because it displays sound.
Bruce Drinkwater on the University of Bristol within the UK says that the brand new method may very well be used to challenge info with a lot of wow consider museum shows or promoting. It may be employed in chemical engineering, utilizing sound waves to combine supplies with out anybody having to the touch them. The new methodology appears extra sturdy than earlier ones, so it might make acoustic levitation sensible extra broadly, he says.
Hirayama says that, up to now, he and his colleagues have solely thought-about acoustic levitation in areas stuffed with sound-scattering objects that don’t transfer in any respect or transfer solely in a number of predictable methods, akin to a hand making an attempt to the touch a levitating hologram. Their subsequent purpose is to good their mid-air object manipulation utilizing sound when every little thing within the room is shifting in sudden and unanticipated methods.
We wish to make this expertise sensible and have it react to objects in actual time, he says.
Journal reference: Science Advances, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abn7614
More on these subjects: