MIT Engineers Use Ultrasound Levitation to Prototype Circuits

LeviCircuits takes advantage of acoustic levitation to position nodes, which contain electronic components, into place to form a circuit.

Cabe Atwell
a month agoSensors

Developed by a team of MIT engineers, LeviCircuits is an innovative new way to prototype electrical circuits through ultrasound levitation. Using ultrasound waves, components such as resistors, transistors, and capacitors can be levitated in mid-air, allowing users to quickly and easily design, test, and refine circuits without the need for soldering or other potentially hazardous materials.

This makes it easier and faster to create complex circuits and test their functionality, enabling users to iterate and refine their designs quickly. Additionally, because components are levitated, they can be rearranged and reconfigured in infinite ways, unlocking a wide range of possibilities.

The system is based on a levitating platform that holds the components in place and uses ultrasound waves to manipulate them into the desired position. This lets the user rapidly and accurately assemble circuits without needing additional tools or equipment. The platform is also completely safe and non-toxic, making it ideal for use in classrooms and other educational settings.

LeviCircuits functions using the conductive 3D-printed filament Electrifi, which provides a conductivity of 0.06 Ohm-cm, to form conductive spheres that MIT engineers call "nodes." These nodes, attached to thin copper wires, levitate via ultrasound to connect to other floating nodes, which can house electrical components, such as resistors and LEDs. Users can then add or remove nodes depending on the design. Acoustic levitation can then move those nodes to specific locations to oproduce electrical connections.

Users can also manipulate their designs remotely via software without the need to physically touch any of the components. For example, an instructor can help students debug their design remotely by moving their systems' nodes. The engineers are currently looking at ways to reduce the size and weight of the nodes to improve levitation. They also plan to explore other means of conductivity in an effort to use lighter materials such as polystyrene.

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