Creating Graphical Displays using Levitating Objects

Levitate is an FET-Open project investigating novel ways of using sound waves to create new interactive experiences. Our goal is not just to create experiences that you can hear, but that you can also see and feel.

One of our goals is to explore new ways of using acoustic levitation to create graphical displays, with graphics and visual elements that levitate in-air. This post outlines two display concepts created using levitating objects. These radical new displays could change how we interact with digital information. Instead of viewing digital pixels on a flat screen, we could instead see content created from physical objects and materials, levitating in air in front of us!

Levitating Particle Displays

Our simplest type of display uses levitating ‘particles’ to represent shapes or objects in mid-air. We typically use small polystyrene beads for particles, although these could be a variety of materials, even food or liquid! The following video and photo show examples of a cube, created from eight particles in its corners. This is the simplest representation of a 3D object, but it’s effective - the shape of the cube is fairly clear!


A spinning levitating cube, created using eight small beads at its corners.


Actuated Levitating Pixels for Physical Objects

Levitating particles can also be used to create dynamic content for other objects. This allows otherwise static objects to be part of a dynamic and engaging display. Adding levitation around other objects is not straightforward, but clever material choices can make this a reality. The following video shows examples of levitating particles being used to animate static objects.


This video shows levitating particles being used to turn static objects into dynamic interactive displays. Levitating particles are used to animate a Lego mini-figure and a model of an erupting volcano.


Levitating particles can be used to create new interactive experiences with static objects. In this example, physical objects are used to create elements in a game.

Levitate Project Admin