This mysterious red thing was given to three engineers with the question: âCan you explain this?â
They took it in their hands, and pulled, turned and twisted the thing, only to be more confused.
When the two handles were far apart, they attracted each other, but when they were close they repelled. And when twisted to a certain position, they came together.
Magical. How is it possible? They asked, mindblown.
Actually, it is magnets.Â But in a completely new way.
The scene above is from this videoÂ (click, it’s a must-watch!), by smartereveryday, who visits the company behind this ‘toy’, Polymagnet.
They have developed a technology to printÂ magnetic designs on the surface of magnets.Â This means that they can create multiple north and south poles on the same surface, and the higher density of poles – the tighter the ‘reach’ of the magnet gets.
Apart from being able to tailor the reach of the magnetic field, the focused force of the polymagnets mean that there are less interference and energy waste. And of course, since the magnetic patterns are printed to a very fine detail, where every maxel (magnetic pixel) represents one pole, the designs have no limits.
So,Â if we have a look at the mysterious red object again, the magnetic viewing film shows that the magnetic pattern is in the shape of the cog, which explains why it comes together when twisted to the right position.
And with our new knowledge about the ‘reach’, we can imagine the magnetic pattern has been designed with a long reach attraction and short reach repulsion. And it’s all between two magnets.
This specific design, with its spring and latch mechanism, is thought be a good fit for a cabinet door closure. But really, when you can tailor the strength and geometry of the magnetic pattern, the possibilities for the Polymagnets are endless.
They call it âsmart magnetsâ.
And it is hard to disagree.
It is clear that these are not only toys, that instead this innovation can revolutionise the use of magnets in product design.