Acoustic levitation is the ability to lift and suspend an object into air with acoustic sound waves.

There is a very large concensus of people who believe that acoustic levitation is how the pyramids were built. Many also believe the technology was used by Edward Leedskalnin, to single-handedly construct a very elaborate coral arrangement – using coral blocks as heavy as 30 tons. Leedskalnin claimed to have figured out how the pyramids were built but he never shared his secrets of levitation with anyone else. Leedskalnin hinted several times at having figured out how to temporarily cancel out gravity as his method of moving objects.

Is acoustic levitation the secret to moving objects around unassisted? Scientists at the Nagoya Institute of Technology and the University of Tokyo have been studying the science and with it, they have achieved both the ability to levitate an object and move the object around. The former has been possible for the last few years. The latter is a first.

“Our manipulation system has two original features,” writes University of Tokyo’s Yoichi Ochai. “One is the direction of the ultrasound beam, which is arbitrary because the force acting toward its centre is also utilised. The other is the manipulation principle by which a localised standing wave is generated at an arbitrary position and moved three-dimensionally by opposed and ultrasonic phased arrays. We experimentally confirmed that various materials could be manipulated by our proposed method.”

Acoustic levitation uses ultrasound so no worries about the level of sound being a problem.

Check out the below video for a demonstation of how acoustic levitation works.

It might be a while before we see the technology spill over into practicle applications, but imagine the possibilites. Maybe we’ll finally get to cruise around in those cars that simply hover above the ground.

share with friends image