SoundBender: the new technology of ultrasonic levitation

For many years scientists from all over the world are trying to develop an efficient levitation technology, because it will open the way not only to create new vehicles (Hello, a hoverboard!), but that would change our whole surrounding space. There are many ideas but most of them are extremely difficult to realize. However, a group of researchers from the UK has made significant progress in this matter, developing the technology that can make objects levitate, even if they are obstacles.

The technology is called SoundBender responsible for its creation, researchers from the University of Sussex. It is an interface that is able to generate dynamic ultrasonic waves enveloping obstacles. This allows to achieve the levitation of small objects. According to Dr. Ganulka Memoli, one of the authors of the work

“This is a significant step forward in the development of ultrasonic levitation, which allows overcoming the significant drawback of the previous work. We developed a hybrid system that combines the versatility of phased arrays with an accuracy of acoustic metamaterials, helping to eliminate restrictions on the propagation of sound waves. We also have reached an incredibly dynamic and responsive management.”

The authors Dr. Ganulka Memoli, Dr. Mohd adili Norasikin and Dr. Diego Martinez, Placency

Acoustic metamaterials in this case, allow you to create the acoustic field with high spatial resolution, a phased array provide the desired amplitude to control the spread of the sound field. Using SoundBender can be managed as solid objects, and liquids and even control the path the spread of odors. Now the only limitation is that the system can only crawl a small static obstacles, but in the future the technology will allow you to interact with obstacles of a large size in motion.

Although, as acknowledged by the authors, the technology can already be adapted for the entertainment industry, designing Board games or interactive exhibitions.

“The potential of the device is really huge. For example, we can make it so that it worked at all audible frequencies and then we can send a sound wave “around the corner” or to create a zone of silence in the noisy dance floor.”

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