The future of magnets is here

The future of magnets is here

If you’re anything like me, you were probably fascinated by magnets when you were younger. But the new “smart magnets” in this video just made my jaw drop.

I just saw a video (above) on a new innovation which is a completely new way to not only manufacture magnets, but design them so that they have completely new properties.

In the video above from Smarter Every Day, (the same guy who did the Backwards Brain Bicycle), he goes to see a company called Polymagnet, who can design metals to have specific magnetic patterns so that they can both attract and repel at the same time on the same surface. They can even control the strength of the field over distance.

The part of the video at 5:45 shows how this can produce a “Smart Magnet” hinge which provides smooth closing, but locks in place when rotated.

It blew me away.

This opens up all sorts of ways that companies can produce truly new innovations in the future.

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What do you think you could produce with a smart magnet design like this? What are you looking forward to? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to share and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Chief Editor of and Founder / CEO of Improvides Innovation Consulting. Coach / Speaker / Author / TEDx Speaker / Voted as the world's #5 Innovation blogger in 2016, I help individuals and companies build their creativity and innovation capabilities, so you can develop the next breakthrough idea which customers love.
By | 2016-11-04T10:38:13+00:00 March 20th, 2016|Curiosity|17 Comments
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  • Roberts Shellenbarger

    I see more efficient electric motors with focused zones which reduce the magnetic drag factor they increasing the net output vs energy input. This could for instance greatly increase the range of electric vehicles per charge.
    By concentrating the power zone like this some of the “magnet motors” I’ve seen might be able to exceed the over unity threshold by a significant amount, perhaps even becoming electric generators which once created and started might never require further fuel and only occasional bearing maintenance.

    • nickskillicorn

      If these could in fact be used as perpetual motion devices, there’s a trillion dollar industry. Alas, I think the good old laws of thermodynamics prevent that.

      • Roberts Shellenbarger

        Nick: what I was seeing if I understood it correctly was magnetic fields being shaped.
        Focused in one direction while being attenuated in others. This is brand new as far as I know. Before this we had only a rudimentary control based upon the shape, size, strength and orientation of the physical magnet itself on the resulting magnetic field shape. I liken this to the waveguide shaping that happens with radio transmission. For instance say I’m broadcasting 5 watts on an average day using a standard whip antenna (basically just a straight wire tuned to the band I’m using) now then that whip will radiate in a spherical pattern and I can talk to my friend who’s 15-20 miles away. But my other friend who’s 50 miles away can’t hear me nor me him.
        Now if I switch to a beam antenna ( which looks like one of those old style tv antennas which used to be on everybody’s roof) I can now direct that 5 watt signal in a controlled beam direction and can now reach the friend who is 50 miles away.
        I’m still using the same amount of power but now I can focus it in a desired direction, of course there’s a price for this gain… The other friend who’s only 15 miles away, but not in the beam direction, can’t hear me any more.
        So then, with the magnets we’ve been able to increase the strength of the field with bigger or newer types, but not to really attenuate the field pattern. So that’s where the problem is with those magnetic powered motors people are developing. As the reactive surfaces begin to align they pass into the spherical field pattern and create a drag before and after the small window of space where they do the work of advancing the rotor. So as I see it if these new magnet designs can lessen the field to the sides and focus that energy in a beam instead then it should cut the field effect losses to a high degree and it may be enough to make them work.

  • Mery Cruz J

    All the previous comments are very interesting (complex) ideas. I believe that it could also be used to design a tracing paper and pen combo to assist preschoolers in letter tracing without the help of a teacher or tutor. Also for all kinds of stencils that require precision like tattoos,typofraphy,ect. This level of magnetic fields manipulation is pretty awesome!!!

  • BlueHornet

    You can see this today if you want – not “this exact demonstration”, but technology very similar – at Home Depot or Lowe’s. Look at kitchen faucets with built-in spray heads. Some of the newer designs have a spray head that “homes” to the tap with a magnetic collar. Turn the spray head and it “springs” away from the tap to enable easier release than a mechanical detent. Set it back to its home position and the magnets lock it back in place. I hadn’t thought of it when I bought mine and installed it last year, but it’s the same principle that’s demonstrated in the video. (I’m not detracting from the video at all; it’s pretty cool that they’re able to do this with such precision. And the video was informative.)

  • Catalacjack

    Imagine a mag lev train that instead of switching magnets by high current you simply rotate the magnets on small motors. The cost savings in electrical operation would be phenomenal, and the actual building of the infrastructure would be greatly reduced.

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  • Jeanette Mrs. S

    My first thought when he’s talking about soft close cabinets is child safety locks. Much easier for the adults to use, much less unsightly, and a little one won’t be able to just pull it until it breaks.

  • This is quite interesting! What was the companies name that had the 3d magnetic printers?

  • mark nocera

    This could change audio speakers forever, and anything that has to do with electric motors etc