Saffron's Space

Levitation. Isn’t that one of the coolest superpowers? Right up there with fire-thrower? …. X-men aside, in today’s When Science Fiction Becomes Reality I’m looking at a very real case of levitation.

The premise is that sound waves (and their vibrations), when controlled in just the right way, are capable of levitating and even controlling the motion of objects. The intricacies of the study are described here: http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1301860110

Japan LevitationIf you want the short version here it is:

The scientists were able to levitate multiple objects and it did NOT rely on them being magnetic. They elevated items such as water, sodium metal and coffee granules.

But why you say?

This technology provides two MAJOR benefits to the world of science: 1) no more handling dangerous chemicals- you can control them via levitation from a distance. 2) No contamination, the experimental reagents will come into contact with nothing but air; no contamination means better experiments.

Let’s put aside practicality for a moment, how does this relate to science fiction? Well, if you increase the scale there’s not really any difference between this and flight… suppose we could increase the scale (and protect ourselves), what’s to stop us riding this vibrational wave through the air? Aside from just the pure awesomeness of flying it could be used to cross dangerous or difficult terrain- you just levitate across, like a bridge.

Could this form of levitation be weaponised? Probably- although I’ll let you work out how.

Read more here.

Do you know any other methods of levitation? How does levitation feature in your science fiction novels? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

Photo from gordonator on flickr


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