Unorthodox “Ferrolic” clock displays the time with magnets and ferrofluid

You know ferrofluid? That awesome black liquid that takes on a variety of crazy shapes when in the presence of a magnetic field? It was originally designed by a NASA engineer as a special type of liquid rocket fuel that could be drawn toward a pump inlet in a weightless environment by applying a magnetic field — but due to the fact that it looks so damn cool, its most common application nowadays is geeky desk toys and weird art projects.

The latest ferrofluid creation comes from Dutch designer Zelf Koelman. His project, dubbed Ferrolic, is a mesmerizing new clock that uses a unique ferrofluid screen to display the time. Normally, watching a clock tick out minutes is about as entertaining as watching paint dry, but I could look at this thing all day.

“Ferrolic was designed from a strong fascination for the magical material Ferro Fluid,” Koelman explains on his website. “… this display bridges the gap between everyday digital screens and tangible reality.  Because the fluid behaves in an unpredictable way, it is possible to give the bodies, perceived in the Ferrolic display, a strong reference to living creatures. It is this lively[ness] that enables Ferrolic to show a meaningful narrative such as having the creatures play tag. In addition to the natural flow of the material, Ferrolic can be used to form recognisable shapes and written characters.”

Contrary to what it looks like, the clock doesn’t actually have any moving parts. The display creates numbers by switching magnetic fields on or off behind the screen. When these electromagnetic zones are selectively switched on to form the clock’s individual digits, the ferrofluid follows and settles into pools wherever the magnetic field is strongest. However, because gravity tends to pull the fluid down toward the bottom of the display over time, the magnetic fields must occasionally start at the bottom of the clock and “dance” their way back into position.

Pretty nifty, right? Well the good news is that if you really, really want one for your nightstand, you can pre-order a Ferrolic clock on Zelf’s website. They don’t come cheap though. The clocks are still a “work in progress” according to Zelf, and since he hasn’t worked out the manufacturing process quite yet, he’s only got plans to build 24 of them in a super limited production run. As such, each clock will cost just over $8,300.

That’s definitely pretty steep, but I’d take this over a Rolex any day of the week.

Product Review

The ZenFone 6 has a flippable camera and is unlike any other flagship phone

Asus is embracing the 2019 trend of not following any trends at all and instead going in its own direction. The ZenFone 6 has a motorized flip-around camera, a 5,000mAh battery, and an almost stock version of Android installed.
Deals

Amazon lowers the price on the Smart Light Switch by TP-Link

Looking to replace the traditional light switches around your home? Amazon is having a deal on the Kasa Smart Light Switch by TP-Link. Here's everything you need to know about the deal.
Mobile

The OnePlus 7 Pro Almond is so good-looking, you'll want to snack on it

The OnePlus 7 Pro is here, and it's a monster of a phone with a stunning redesign, a pop-up selfie camera, powerful flagship specs, and a price that's hundreds of dollars less than the competition.
News

Jasco is behind a new line of GE Z-Wave smart home products

The new line of Enbrighten Z-Wave light switches from GE and Jasco come with QuickFit and SimpleWire technology that make it easy to fit in any home, and give you more control over your lighting experience.
Emerging Tech

This drone with hands looks like a nightmare straight out of Black Mirror

This unlikely drone-with-hands creation is the work of Federico Ciccarese, the brains behind YouBionic, a bionic hand project that has evolved far beyond its original brief. Check it out.
Emerging Tech

This crazy-looking robot uses microspines on its legs to climb up walls

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon have built a bioinspired robot, which uses microspines on its feet to grip onto rough surfaces. This allows it to climb up very steep gradients. Check it out.
Emerging Tech

Got $400 million to burn? The world’s largest airplane is up for sale

Stratolaunch, the world's largest airplane, is up for sale. All it'll cost you is $400 million dollars. The brainchild of late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, the plane was supposed to make space travel more accessible and affordable.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Florida’s autonomous vehicle law, E3 updates, and more

On this episode of DT Live, we take a look at the biggest trending stories in tech, including Florida allowing fully autonomous vehicles on the road, Atari’s new gaming system, E3 updates, high-speed rail, and more.
Emerging Tech

Ex astris, scientia: Star Trek logo spotted on the surface of Mars

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been boldly going to Mars and capturing images since 2005, and now it has spotted something where no man has gone before: a structure on the planet's surface which will look familiar to Trekkies.
Emerging Tech

Adobe develops tool to identify Photoshopped images of faces

With deepfake videos making headlines, and campaigns against the Photoshopping of models, people are more aware than ever of the digital manipulation of images. Now Adobe wants to give tools to users to let them spot faked images.
Emerging Tech

NASA’s Mars 2020 rover will pave the way for manned missions to Mars

Survival on Mars is a massive challenge for humanity. To cope with the highly variable temperatures, lack of oxygen and water, and high levels of radiation, the Mars 2020 rover will carry instruments to pave the way for human exploration.
Emerging Tech

Facebook builds virtual homes to train A.I. agents in realistic environments

Researchers at Facebook have created Habitat, which is a platform that enables rapid training for A.I. agents. They will receive thousands of hours of training in just a few minutes in the virtual homes.
Emerging Tech

Impossible Foods struggles to keep up with Impossible Burger demand

Red Robin and White Castle have reported Impossible Burger shortages, as it appears that Impossible Foods is struggling to keep up with demand. The company will be selling its meat-like patties in retail outlets within the year.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Plant-based shoes and a ukulele learning aid

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!