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Using Nothing But Sound, These Scientists Are Making Things Float

Using nothing but high frequency ultrasound, these researchers can make anything float

There's a video going around that shows something amazing—little particles, resistors, pieces of wood and bolts and screws, hovering in mid-air and levitated by nothing but sound. The video is a demonstration of a new technique, worked out by a team of Japanese researchers, that allows them to float and manipulate objects in mid-air, riding on a cushion of super high frequency ultrasound.

This isn't the first time that people have levitated things with sound, of course. Sound is pressure, and with enough pressure you can push and lift and break. Last year researchers at the Argonne National Laboratory showed off a similar acoustic levitation system:

The difference between the Argonne team's levitation device and the Tokyo team's approach is that the latter lets you not only levitate objects, but move them around in three dimensional space.

Now, if someone could combine these researchers' sound-controlled levitating devices with Elon Musk's crazy hand gesture-based control system, we could really have something.

More from Smithsonian.com:

Anti-Gravity Machine for Levitating Fruit Flies

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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