How to build your own DIY makeshift levitation machine at home • The Register

Engineers at the University of Bristol in the UK have published a rough guide to building a simple levitation chamber that uses sound waves to suspend objects.

A paper published in the Review of Scientific Instruments this month shows how it can be done within the confines of your own home lab.

Using a 3D printer, commercial ultrasonic transducers, some amplifier circuits, a 20V supply, and a simple microcontroller kit or Arduino board, the levitator can be built, emitting 40kHz waves on a single axis.


FIG. 1.


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Floating Ants and Drops of Liquid with an Acoustic Levitator

    Amuse your friends, amaze your enemies, and perplex ants and other insects, insofar as they are capable of perplexment. Accomplish all this and more with this handy dandy homebrew acoustic levitator.

    Before anyone gets to thinking about using this technique to build a hoverboard that actually hovers, it’s best that you scale your expectations way, way down. Still, being able to float drops of liquid and small life forms is no mean feat, and looks like a ton of fun to boot.

    Acoustic Levitator

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Hovering Questions About Magnetic Levitation

    Who doesn’t love magnets? They’re functional, mysterious, and at the heart of nearly every electric motor. They can make objects appear to defy gravity or move on their own. If you’re like us, when you first started grappling with the refrigerator magnets, you tried to make one hover motionlessly over another. We tried to position one magnet over another by pitting their repellent forces against each other but [K&J Magnetics] explains why this will never work and how levitation can be done with electromagnets

    A magnet levitating in mid-air is strong enough to hold up this apple!

    Can a magnet levitate or float above another magnet? Why not – it seems like it should work!

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Following her recent visit to the University of Bristol, YouTuber, Dianna Cowern was inspired to make a video about building her own Bristol-designed DIY levitator for her hugely popular YouTube channel, Physics Girl.

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  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    How to Make Things Float With Ultrasound

    The US $70 kit is from Makerfabs and is based on the TinyLev design created by Asier Marzo, Adrian Barnes, and Bruce W. Drinkwater as published in last August’s Review of Scientific Instruments. (Their goal was to create an inexpensive way to examine materials using techniques like spectroscopy without worrying about contamination from a container. My goal is to be able to make something float while cackling, “Behold!”)

    Acoustic Levitator

    Use acoustic waves to hold in mid-air samples such as water, ants or tiny electric components. This technology has been previously restricted to a couple of research labs but now you can make it at your home.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Simplest Possible DIY Ultrasonic Levitator

    We thought that making things levitate in mid-air by the power of sound was a little bit more like magic, or at least required fancy equipment. It turns out that you can do it yourself easily enough with parts that any decent hacker’s closet should have in abundance: a motor-driver IC, two ultrasonic distance pingers, and a microcontroller.

    But aside from a few clever tricks, there’s not that much to show. The two HC-SR04 ultrasonic distance sensors are standard fare, and are just being used as a cheap source of 40 kHz transducers. The circuit uses a microcontroller, but any source of 40 kHz square waves should suffice. Those of you who could do that with a 555 (or a Raspberry Pi), this one’s for you! A stepper motor driver bumps up the voltage applied to the transducers, but you could use plain-vanilla transistors as well.

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Using Acoustic Levitation for Applications Going Way Beyond Novelty

    We’ve all seen acoustic levitation, it’s one of the scientific novelties of our age and a regular on the circuit of really impressive physical demonstrations of science to the public. The sight of arrays of ultrasonic speakers causing small objects and beads of liquid to float in mid-air without any suspension is magical, captivating people of all ages. Thus a lecture at Hackaday Belgrade on the subject from Asier Marzo, a research scientist with a speciality in the field of ultrasonics at the UK’s University of Bristol, was a particularly fascinating and informative one.


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