This paper introduces the characterization study of a new actuator design -"Adhesive Pillar Based Air Levitation" (APAL) system-to manipulate fine objects in a non-destructive manner. A meso-scale polymer adhesive pillar array manages to gently contact the fine surfaces and moreover adapt variable interface geometries. Air flow, which is fed through the nozzles located across the backing layer of the pillars, levitates the target object located on the top of the pillars and ensures its contactless manipulation. Proposed approach is feasible to be used in conveying, positioning and pick/place operations of fragile objects. (C) 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license.