Magnic Light: A magical magnetic dynamo light for your bicycle

magnic light a magical magnetic dynamo for you bicycle screen shot 2012 08 01 at 2 43 pm

For those of us who bike regularly, whether it be for commuting, sport, or just for fun, a decent lighting system is not only necessary for safety at night, it’s also required by law in most places. 

Cyclists generally have two options when it comes to lights: battery power or dynamo power. Battery power is reliable, easy, and cheap, but has the obvious drawback of replacement cost when the batteries run out. Dynamo powered lights use your bike’s spinning wheels to generate power, and therefore don’t require batteries. The downside is they cause friction that can slow you down, and they’re generally more expensive. 

 German inventor Dirk Strothmann, however, has come up with a device that aims to alleviate both problems. The Magnic Light (portmanteau of “magnet” and magic,” we assume) is a compact, contactless, dynamo-powered bicycle light that at first glance appears to run on magic. 

While watching the video on Magnic Light in action, its hard to believe that it’s real. Strothmann, who’s no doubt used to getting mesmerized looks, feels compelled to assure us that it’s not a trick. He explains that, rather than some sort of German witchcraft, the Magnic Light uses what are known as eddy currents to power its LED’s.

Even if physics and electromagnetism weren’t your strong suit back in high school, its relatively easy to grasp how eddy currents work. Think of a canoe paddle moving through the water. As it travels backward breadthwise, small swirls of water are created along it’s edges, and remain swirling for some time after the paddle is removed from the water. These are eddy currents, and although this example is with fluid, the same phenomenon occurs with electromagnetic fields. For a more visual explanation, check out this video.

When your bike’s spinning rim (the conductor) moves past Magnic Light’s built-in magnet, it creates an eddy current that powers a dynamo, thus producing electricity to illuminate its two LED’s. 

magnic light a magical magnetic dynamo for you bicycle screen shot 2012 08 01 at 2 31 24 pm

But it’s more than just a cool headlight — certain design features give it some added benefits. Because the lights are situated next to your tire rather than on top of it, their glow illuminates your rims and makes you more visible from the side. The brake light has an interesting feature as well. If you attach the light to your brake pads, the light gets slightly closer to your rim when you brake, thereby increasing the strength of the eddy current it creates and causes the light to glow brighter. This would make for an effective way to signal when you’re slowing down, and hopefully ensure you don’t get squashed by any following vehicle.

As the product hasn’t shipped just yet, the only way to gauge performance is from the comparison Strothmann does in his video pitch. Compared to most other dynamos it looks like Magnic Light generates much more light and much less friction. The glow looks somewhat flickery, and not as constant as battery-powered lights, but not to the point of being problematic. 

Although a price hasn’t yet been set for the Magnic Light system, its Kickstarter page is somewhat telling. The cost for backers was $199 – and considering the fact that early backers generally get items at lower-than-retail prices, we wouldn’t be surprised if Magnic Light sold for $220 to $250 once production is finished. A bit on the expensive side, but for the everyday cyclist, this neat little gadget could save you money on batteries in the long run.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: DIY smartphones and zip-on bike tires

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!
Deals

Add color and subtract $50 with this Philips Hue lighting starter kit deal

If you've been on the fence about purchasing smart lightbulbs, Amazon is selling the Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit for just $100. For a limited time Amazon is also offering a bundle deal of Philips Hue's White and Color…
Smart Home

Is your smart home lighting too confusing? Intellect simplifies your controls

Leviton introduced Intellect, a new controls platform for smart home lighting. Intellect is the fifth brand to join Leviton's portfolio, alongside ConTech, Intense, Birchwood, and JCC.
Smart Home

How to create spooky Halloween effects with smart home lighting and sound

This Halloween, bathe your home with eerie smart home lighting and audio effects guaranteed to spook your neighbors. Use colored light and eerie sounds to create eerie Halloween effects.
Emerging Tech

Japanese scientists are chewing over an ‘electric gum’ that never loses flavor

Researchers at Japan's Meiji University may have found the secret to unlimited chewing gum -- and it just involves zapping your tongue with electricity. Here's what makes it all work.
Smart Home

Vector, the engaging Alexa-like robot, is ready to roam around your home

Anyone who has ever watched Short Circuit or WALL-E has surely dreamed about having a robot buddy come live with them. Finally, that dream is now a reality. It's name is Vector, and it's available now.
Emerging Tech

Light-swallowing room promises Call of Duty fans the blackest of ops

What's it like to be in a room fully painted with the world's darkest material, Vantablack? The makers of one of the year's top video games teamed up with Vantablack scientists to find out.
Emerging Tech

Ekster 3.0 lets you ask, ‘Alexa, where did I leave my wallet?’

Ekster's newest smart wallet is its best yet. It's slimmer than ever, boasts a neat card-dispensing mechanism, and will even let you know where it is, thanks to smart speaker integration.
Emerging Tech

Johns Hopkins’ lab-grown human retina could lead to big insights

Scientists from Johns Hopkins University have successfully grown human retina tissue from scratch in a lab. The work could help with the development of new therapeutics related to eye diseases.
Wearables

Skydio’s self-flying drone now has an Apple Watch app for flight prep

Skydio's clever R1 autonomous drone now has its own Apple Watch app, making flight preparations simpler than ever. The $2,000 flying machine is now also selling at its first retail outlet — Apple Stores in North America.
Emerging Tech

Are e-cigarettes safe? Here’s what the most recent science says

Ecigarettes are widely regarded and advertised as a healthier alternative to cigarettes for people who are trying to kick the smoking habit. How safe are these cigarette alternatives? We went deep into the recent scientific literature to…
Emerging Tech

Scientists created a condom that self-lubricates during sex. You’re welcome

Researchers from Boston University have invented a special coating for condoms which make them respond to bodily fluids by becoming more slippery. Here's how their new breakthrough works.
Emerging Tech

You’re so vein: Palm-based biometric system could help confirm your identity

Move over, Face ID! The next biometric security systems could rely on analyzing the unique vein patterns in your palm print. Here are some of the ways the technology could prove useful.
Emerging Tech

For only $4,950, you can get jetpack lessons from the world’s only instructor

Have you ever dreamed of flying using a jetpack? JetPack Aviation founder -- and the world's only qualified jetpack teacher -- David Mayman is now offering a day of flight instruction.