Acoustic Holograms and Levitating Objects; Toys of the Near Future

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Cutting edge science and toys have something in common: A sense of magic. That was why I was excited to see some of the recent work being done with acoustics Max Planck Institute in Stuttgart, Germany. This group of physicists has figured out how to use acoustics to create holograms in water and to move levitated objects. Something that has never been done before.

Here is how Washington Post writer, Sarah Kaplan, describes acoustic holograms in her article, "Watch scientists levitate objects and draw on water with ‘acoustic holograms’"

The experiment looks like science fiction — or maybe even magic. In response to a single tone from a lone speaker, tiny silicone particles floating on the surface of a glass of water arrange themselves into the shape of a dove. The image holds for as long as the tone plays, then collapses.

The below video does a nice job of showing how the use of sound waves can control the movements of a small boat. It appears that the use of sound or ultra-sound can, by using a 3D template, control an objects movements both up and down as well as side to side

The can also be used to control levitating objects. On the next page is a video that demonstrates that phenomenon:


Ms. Kaplan uses the words "impressively simple" to describe the process. That, of course, will depend upon who is doing the observing. To me, it reminds me of where Virtual Reality was just a few years ago. I think all of this has the elements of some "magical", future toys. What do you think?

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