Thursday, May 17, 2012

Levitation


Some folks at MIT Center for Bits and Atoms have made an object float.  Ok, I have a little trouble with them talking about this in terms of "no gravity," but still it is quite cool.  Some time ago I thought of doing exactly this experiment.  The idea is that an electromagnet it controlled by a computer that has sensors (video cameras in this case) to sense the location of a metal ball.  If the ball is too low, crank up the electromagnet above it.  If it is too high, repel a little.  With the appropriate algorithm (probably a PID algorithm) you should be able to get the ball to float just as the MIT folks in the video did.

You can find the complete story here.