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.

Product Review

This was 3D printed? With the Anycubic Photon, you can't tell

Never mind the fact that the Anycubic Photon 3D printer only costs 500 bucks. In terms of sheer print quality, this printer is on the same level as machines that cost six times as much.
Deals

Best deals for smart home plugs that control your lights and appliances

Smart hubs and speakers play central communication and management roles in your home, but smart plugs let you add lights and appliances to your system. Any smart plug you buy must support one feature or anything you plug in stays dumb.
Emerging Tech

Light, speed: Lighting kit for DJI Mavic 2 lets you fly and film in the dark

Lume Cube, maker of small battery-powered LED lights for mobile photography, has announced a new lighting kit built specifically for the DJI Mavic 2 -- the first of its kind. Already our favorite drone, this makes the Mavic 2 even better.
Emerging Tech

There’s a new lab-grown meat startup on the block — and it has a secret weapon

Aleph Farms is developing lab-grown steaks with the same flavor, shape, texture, and structure as the real thing using beef cells isolated from living cows. Coming soon to a store near you?
Smart Home

This A.I.-enabled tech brings cutting-edge automation to grocery stores

Takeoff Technologies is working to make grocery deliveries fast, accurate, and convenient using A.I.-enabled technology to augment robotic grocery orders that can be completed in minutes.
Emerging Tech

The best 3D printers of 2018

On the hunt for a new 3D printer? We've got your back. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned veteran, this list of the best 3D printers has what you're looking for.
Emerging Tech

Postmates’ to roll out Minion-like autonomous delivery robots in 2019

Postmates is about to employ a cute little robot to work alongside its human delivery personnel. Called Serve, the wheel-based bot can carry items weighing up to 50 pounds and has a range of 30 miles.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
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

Thrill-seekers will be able to pilot themselves in a giant drone as soon as 2019

Want to hitch a ride on a giant drone? The startup Lift Aircraft is gearing up to let paying customers fly its 18-rotor giant drones over assorted scenic landscapes across the U.S.
Emerging Tech

CRISPR gene therapy regulates hunger, staves off severe obesity in mice

Researchers from UC San Francisco have demonstrated how CRISPR gene editing can be used to prevent severe obesity in mice, without making a single edit to the mouse's genome. Here's how.
Emerging Tech

Capture app saves money by 3D scanning objects using iPhone’s TrueDepth camera

Capture is a new iPhone app created by the Y Combinator-backed startup Standard Cyborg. It allows anyone to perform 3D scans of objects and share them with buddies. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

Sick of walking everywhere? Here are the best electric skateboards you can buy

Thanks for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, electric skateboards are carving a bigger niche than you might think. Whether you're into speed, mileage, or something a bit more stylish, here are the best electric skateboards on the market.
Emerging Tech

Rise of the Machines: Here’s how much robots and A.I. progressed in 2018

2018 has generated no shortage of news, and the worlds of A.I. and robotics are no exception. Here are our picks for the most exciting, game changing examples of both we saw this year.