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.

Emerging Tech

How MIT hacked horticulture to cultivate a hyper-flavorful basil plant

At MIT, Caleb Harper used his personal food computers to alter the climate in which he grew basil. Exposing it light for 24 hours a day changed the flavor profile of the plant, making it spicier and stronger.

10 Nintendo Switch tips and tricks to get the most out of your hybrid console

Have a new Nintendo Switch? Awesome! It's a great console from the moment you turn it on, but owners can make it even better by using a few simple tips and tricks. Here's what every Switch owner should know.

How do Nintendo Switch, Xbox One X compare to each other? We find out

The Nintendo Switch is innovative enough to stand apart from traditional consoles, but could it become your primary gaming system? How does the Switch stack up against the Xbox One?

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now.
Health & Fitness

From the office to the gym, these are the best smartwatches for fitness

The line between smartwatch and fitness tracker continues to blur. To help narrow the field of the best fitness watches, we sifted through what's available and curated a list of devices worthy of a spot on your wrist.
Emerging Tech

Sweden is building a road that recharges electric buses that drive over it

The Swedish transport administration is exploring special roads which will charge vehicles’ batteries as they drive over them. It will test the idea with a short sample stretch of road.
Emerging Tech

Scientists manage to 3D print an actual heart using human cells

Scientists at Tel Aviv University have achieved a world-first by 3D printing a small-scale heart, complete with blood vessels, ventricles, and chambers. Here's why that's so exciting.
Emerging Tech

Drown out noisy neighbors and rest easy with these white noise machines

Some people are more sensitive to sound during sleep than others. Luckily, there are a number of white noise machines on the market to mask the noise. Here are our five of our current favorites.
Emerging Tech

Feast your eyes on the wildest, most elaborate Rube Goldberg machines ever built

Want to see something totally mesmerizing? Check out several of the best Rube Goldberg machines from across the internet, including one that serves cake and others that do ... nothing particularly useful.
Emerging Tech

Watch a pack of SpotMini robot dogs perform a terrifying feat of strength

Boston Dynamics' SpotMini robotic dog is now going around in packs, and the results are somewhat concerning. Check out the video to see what kind of shenanigans 10 of them got up to recently ...
Emerging Tech

Notre Dame fire: How drones and a robot called Colossus helped limit the damage

The fire that devastated the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral on Monday shocked many around the world. In a bid to prevent even worse damage to the structure, Paris firefighters opted to deploy drones and a robot called Colossus.
Emerging Tech

New gunfire-detection system alerts police of shooters in seconds, not minutes

The Safe Zone Gunfire Detector is a fast gunfire-detection system that could help avert potential tragedies in public places like schools, malls, or anywhere a mass shooting might occur.
Emerging Tech

NASA chooses a special spot for its next crewed moon landing

Following the U.S. government's announcement last month of a desire to see American astronauts set foot on the moon again in the next five years, NASA has revealed a location on the lunar surface where it would most like to land.
Emerging Tech

Adidas has created a running shoe that’s made to be remade

Adidas has unveiled the Futurecraft Loop running shoe that it claims is the first performance footwear to be 100% recyclable. The shoe is the latest green initiative by the sportswear company and will go on sale in 2021.