June 19, 2024

Not Science Fiction: A New Method To Move Objects Without Contact

” We have known for a while that waves and light and noise can control items. What sets our research study apart is that we can manipulate and trap much bigger objects if we make their surface area a metamaterial surface or a metasurface,” stated Ognjen Ilic, senior author of the study and the Benjamin Mayhugh Assistant Professor in the University of Minnesota Department of Mechanical Engineering. “When we position these small patterns on the surface of the things, we can basically show the sound in any instructions we want. I believe were charting in a new instructions here and revealing that without physical contact, we can move objects, and that motion can be managed just by programming what is on the surface of that item.

Metamaterials are materials that are artificially engineered to connect with waves, like light and sound. By positioning a metamaterial pattern on the surface area of a things, the scientists had the ability to utilize noise to guide it in a specific instructions without physically touching it..
” We have actually understood for a while that waves and light and sound can manipulate objects. What sets our research apart is that we can manipulate and trap much larger objects if we make their surface area a metamaterial surface or a metasurface,” stated Ognjen Ilic, senior author of the study and the Benjamin Mayhugh Assistant Professor in the University of Minnesota Department of Mechanical Engineering. “When we place these small patterns on the surface of the things, we can generally reflect the noise in any direction we desire. And in doing that, we can manage the acoustic force that is exerted on an item.”.
A video of the scientists moving a things with ultrasound. Credit: University of Minnesota.
Using this technique, the researchers can not only move an object forward but also pull it towards a source– not too dissimilar from the tractor-beam innovation in sci-fi stories like Star Trek..
Their method might prove beneficial for moving items in fields like production or robotics..
” Contactless manipulation is a hot area of research in optics and electromagnetism, but this research study proposes another method for contactless actuation that offers advantages that other techniques may not have,” said Matthew Stein, very first author on the paper and a college student in the University of Minnesota Department of Mechanical Engineering. “Also, outside of the applications that this research study allows, expanding upon our knowledge of physics is simply an extremely exciting thing to do in general!”.
While this research study is more a demonstration of the principle, the researchers intend to check out higher frequencies of waves and various products and item sizes in the future..
” In a lot of fields of science and engineering, robotics particularly, there is the requirement to move things, to move a signal into some sort of regulated movement,” Ilic stated. “Often this is done through physical tethers or having to bring some source of energy to be able to perform a job. I think were charting in a new direction here and showing that without physical contact, we can move things, and that movement can be controlled merely by setting what is on the surface of that things. This provides us a new mechanism to contactlessly activate things.”.
Reference: “Shaping contactless radiation forces through anomalous acoustic scattering” by Matthew Stein, Sam Keller, Yujie Luo and Ognjen Ilic, 1 November 2022, Nature Communications.DOI: 10.1038/ s41467-022-34207-7.
The research study was moneyed by the Minnesota Robotics Institute and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

By positioning a metamaterial pattern on the surface area of an item, the University of Minnesota researchers had the ability to utilize sound to steer it in a particular direction without physically touching it. Credit: Olivia Hultgren
This contactless adjustment method has prospective applications in industries consisting of robotics and manufacturing.
A group of scientists at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities has actually uncovered a way to control things utilizing ultrasound waves, paving the method for contactless motion in markets like manufacturing and robotics without the need for an internal source of power.
The findings have been published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Communications.
While its been demonstrated prior to that sound and light waves can manipulate items, the items have actually constantly been smaller than the wavelength of noise or light, or on the order of millimeters to nanometers, respectively. The University of Minnesota group has actually developed a method that can move larger things utilizing the concepts of metamaterial physics..