Scientists crack levitation, for goodness sake's. From the Telegraph
Levitation has been elevated from being pure science fiction to science fact, according to a study reported today by physicists.
In earlier work the same team of theoretical physicists showed that invisibility cloaks are feasible.
Now, in another report that sounds like it comes out of the pages of a Harry Potter book, the University of St Andrews team has created an 'incredible levitation effectsâ€™ by engineering the force of nature which normally causes objects to stick together.
Professor Ulf Leonhardt and Dr Thomas Philbin, from the University of St Andrews in Scotland, have worked out a way of reversing this pheneomenon, known as the Casimir force, so that it repels instead of attracts.
The force is due to neither electrical charge or gravity, for example, but the fluctuations in all-pervasive energy fields in the intervening empty space between the objects and is one reason atoms stick together, also explaining a â€œdry glueâ€ effect that enables a gecko to walk across a ceiling.
Now, using a special lens of a kind that has already been built, Prof Ulf Leonhardt and Dr Thomas Philbin report in the New Journal of Physics they can engineer the Casimir force to repel, rather than attact.
Micro or nano machines could run smoother and with less or no friction at all if one can manipulate the force.â€ Though it is possible to levitate objects as big as humans, scientists are a long way off developing the technology for such feats, said Dr Philbin.
The practicalities of designing the lens to do this are daunting but not impossible and levitation â€œcould happen over quite a distanceâ€.