How some floating plastic beads will change manufacturing and space exploration


#1

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#2

Finally, I can eat a Thanksgiving meal without a fork and knife! Side-bonus, everyone else at the dinner table has to be absolutely quiet, because if even the smallest scrap of my cranberry sauce goes haywire due to Aunt Jenny's carping about her gout, I can levitate the whole damn bunch out into the yard. Thank you, science!


#3

Breaking in to the manufacturing plant as a means of progressing to the next level just got a whole lot more complicated for future-based stealth games.


#4

This is not new. I know the microgravity R&D group at Vanderbilt Unviersity was doing this routinely in the 1990s, and they had learned how from the JPL who was doing it before them at least as far back as the 80s.


#5

Space exploration? I'm confused -- they're levitating objects acoustically, which requires an environment in which sound waves can actually propagate... so not "outer space". Inside (air filled) spacecrafts at 0G maybe?


#6

Yes, it would be done inside a space station or spacecraft of some kind. The reason that this is more attractive in space is that the forces you can generate with acoustic levitation are small. You can only levitate very light objects (foam balls, ping pong balls, etc) against the force of gravity. In a microgravity environment you could use it to do containerless processing of metal, for example.

for additional reading: http://archive.org/stream/nasa_techdoc_19970021191/19970021191_djvu.txt


#7

Ah that makes sense - thanks for the link!


#8

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