Imagine how much easier life would be if it was possible to levitate objects. Maglev trains, for example, use powerful magnets to repel the carriages and remove the friction of the train on the tracks.

But magnets are just one way of achieving this – and they require the object to have a repelling magnetic force. Now scientists in Japan have shown that a similar effect can be achieved with sound.

In this video they show that it is not only possible to levitate objects in mid-air using sound waves, but also to move them around. The results can be quite artistic – look about 1 minute in to see just what is possible.

They then levitate match heads, drops of water, screws and nuts.

The researchers at the University of Tokyo say they hope to refine the technique so it can be used to manipulate delicate electronic components when assembling hardware.

Acoustic levitation: how sound can get physical, 1/2/14

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