Multimodal 3D display technology delivering visual, auditory and tactile content

Example image of levitating coloured particle

The system displaying 3D coloured particles in the shape of a virtual butterfly. Credit: Eimontas Jankauskis, University of Sussex.



There are currently no 3D display technologies on the market that can simultaneously display visual, auditory and tactile content to create a more sensory-rich experience.


Our system can levitate and move a single coloured particle fast enough to create a solid 3D image in mid-air by controlling the mechanical energy of ultrasound waves at high update rates (as high as the ultrasound wave frequency).

The system traps a particle acoustically and illuminates it with red, green and blue light. These levitated particles can be accompanied simultaneously by audio and tactile content.

Potential applications 

The multimodal display could be used by the entertainment or advertising industry, or to create digital signs.

The fast levitation method offers opportunities for non-contact, high-speed manipulation of matter, with potential applications in areas such as computational fabrication, biomedicine and 3D printing.

IP status

The technology is protected by a UK patent application no. 1914174.6.


  • Hirayama, R., Martinez Plasencia, D., Masuda, N., Subramanian, S. A volumetric display for visual, tactile and audio presentation using acoustic trapping. Nature 575, 320–323 (2019).

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