Scientists in Switzerland have figured out how to levitate and manipulate objects such as a water droplets in mid-air using sound waves. Researchers claim that this breakthrough will have an enormous impact on several different applications, such as in the pharmaceutical industry and electronics manufacturing. The team performed several experiments in mid-air, such as combining chemical solutions, inserting DNA into cells, and levitating a toothpick and controlling its motion. Sound waves exert pressure, so when the waves are strong enough the pressure is able to counteract the force of gravity. In this case, the strength for the experiment was 160 decibels, louder than a rocket launch. In order to protect their ears, the scientists used a frequency of sound that was beyond the human hearing level.
The key to levitating the objects was to get the proper balance of sound wave force. This would require slowly lowering the sound level from the current spot while increasing the sound level of the spot that the object was moved to. Previously, scientists were able to levitate objects, but they could not move them in mid-air. Right now they can only move small lightweight objects, but they are working on being able to move bigger and more dense objects. One practical application of this discovery could be in the pharmaceutical industry, where they could mix solutions for drugs in mid-air to avoid the contamination of the containers.
Although in its beginning stages, I find this type of discovery very exciting. Things that we only dreamed of as magic before are slowly turning into reality. Once this technology gets better, people will be able to move heavy things without having to lift them, and eventually maybe we will finally get a flying car.
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