Looking at this video, it seems like scientists at the University of Tokyo have mastered the Force and they’re now able to make things levitate and move in space. But magic this is not, young Skywalker — it’s the first time that anyone has achieved such a feat using sound waves. Given enough energy, they can move anything they want using this technique.
Acoustic levitation is not new — scientists have been able to lift a water drop up and down in the air using sound waves for quite a long time. But that’s only moving a particle over a fixed axis, only going up or down. In a new research paper, Yoichi Ochiai, Takayuki Hoshi and Jun Rekimoto have gone a lot further, developing a method to move objects in 3D space:
Our manipulation system has two original features. 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.
This GIF shows a slow motion view of the flying particles:
Here’s another demonstration video:
Theoretically, giving enough energy, they can use this method to lift any object up in the air and move it around, including Marty McFlys on hoverboards and half-sunk X-Wings.