Watch As Sound Levitates A Golfball-Sized Object

Today it's little foam balls, but scientists are thinking bigger
a foam ball floats on acoustic waves
A team of international researchers published a study in Applied Physics Letters showing this amazing stunt -- a foam ball floating on sound. They used acoustic waves to lift the golf-ball sized object. They're already looking toward the future in what the practical applications can be, and you can find out more here. Andrade et al. ©2016 AIP Publishing

By way of acoustics, researchers have successfully levitated one of the largest objects yet: a two-inch solid polystyrene ball.

This hunk of foam is trapped in the gentle embrace of three 25 kHz ultrasonic transducers, transmitting sound above the frequency of human hearing. Traditionally, acoustic levitation uses two opposing sound waves to suspend an object smaller than the wavelengths themselves. This is the first time acoustic levitation has worked on an object 3.6 times larger than the acoustic wavelength.

But it’s not just a cool parlor trick. Breaking through this scale problem could lead to moving larger objects at different angles and manipulating them mid-air, useful for handling hot materials or liquid samples in space.