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Brazilian researchers successfully developed a technique that uses sound waves to lift a small ball, opening the chance to make magical things in the fiction comes true.

Technology Helps People Step onto the Plane without a Ladder

Technique using sound waves to lift objects often appear in science fiction films such as Star Trek. In fact, the scientists have developed this technology in recent years, but only at the micro level in the laboratory. Success in raising large objects with a few centimeters in size is a significant progress in moving technology and material suspended by sound waves.

Lifting objects by the sound waves is definitely considered as the phenomenon that uses acoustic beams surround the objects to create a standing wave in the area of three-dimensional space. In this case, objects not only combat the gravity but they also are “locked” by other ways.

Lift by sound waves promises to bring numerous applications in practice. It can help people to control and move liquids in space without the containing device, as well as the handling of hazardous materials to high temperatures without touching. In the future, when this technology is strong enough, people can step onto the plane without ladders like in the movie Star Trek.

Normally, in order to improve objects by sound waves, it requires two sources of opposite sound waves. In particular, this technique only works with objects smaller than the wavelength of the sound such as water droplets or small polystyrene balls.

The purpose of this technique is trapping objects at stop wave button, at that point, the pressure wave is zero and sandwiched between two intense wave crests to make objects defy gravity. Because the size of the object is smaller than the wavelength, the applicability of this technique is limited. For example, with the source of 20 kHz and a wavelength of sound is 14 mm, the object’s body diameter is just less than 4 mm.

According to Science Alert, this is the first time the new technique is applied to lift spherical objects 3.6 times larger than sound wavelength and weigh about 1.5 grams.

“At this point, we can only raise the object in a fixed position in space.” Marco Andrade, a member of the research team said. “Our next job is to develop new devices with the capability of lifting and controlling large objects in space.”


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