Researchers have devised a new and improved way to levitate objects using only sound waves. The invention can lead to the emergence of a new generation of holograms.
Scientists have managed to levitate individual polystyrene grains and water particles in a special enclosure. Thanks to 256 speakers, the team can move particles in three dimensions.
In one demonstration, they even managed to float in the air a small piece of cloth on which they projected a film of a jumping rabbit.
“In the past, our 3D displays had to exist in a vacuum, but now we can create 3D content right in front of you,” said Diego Martinez Placencia, a researcher at University College London and co-author of the study.
The effect obtained is quite amazing. In one experiment, the team managed to levitate a water droplet over a moving glass of water, an object that would otherwise be a huge source of interference due to its reflective surface.
“This opens up opportunities for fully immersive virtual reality experiences and interactive holograms,” said Ryuji Hirayama, lead author at University College London.
The team now hopes to create a new system that allows more than one source of interference.
“Acoustic levitation has great potential in precision manufacturing, and this work paves the way for this opportunity,” added lead researcher Sri Subramanian.
Video: Keeping objects levitated: High-speed acoustic holography