Since I was a kid, and even now as an adult, I have always been fascinated with things that just don’t make sense. Of course most things actually do make sense if I were to examine the engineering aspects of them, the physics involved, or the science behind them. However, just like those optical illusions that we are all so enthralled with, even though we know that it’s just our minds playing tricks on us, the idea of the “illusion” is something that I still take a liking towards. Whether it is a simple card trick, David Copperfield making entire buildings disappear, or the fact that I can see the heat rising up off of a hot road, only to vanish when I get closer, it is all just fascinating and entertaining to me.
When I came across a device that not only was a type of illusion, but also involved 3D printing technology, you can only imagine how excited I became. This machine, created by a company called Magnafield, is a working (with emphasis on working) prototype that is geared toward demonstrating a technology that the company has been working on; a technology, which if all goes as planned, will quite possibly lead to a world featuring levitation on more level than one.
Magnafield is a startup that is developing frictionless, efficient levitation technology. It is a platform-based technology which can hold objects in the air without any physical contact.
“[With] this technology we are able to build a lot of different devices that can levitate objects with electromagnetic force,” Gatis Zvejnieks of Magnafield tells 3DPrint.com. “With this technology it is possible to build products like levitating table lamps, advertising displays, wireless chargers, equipment for medicine and almost endless individual solutions; for example levitating art sculptures.”
This 3D printed device was created to demonstrate the company’s technology, which currently remains in the early stages as far as development goes. They used a Mass Portal 3D Printer to print out the device. “[Mass Portal] believed in our idea and gave us one of their printers for prototyping,” says Zvejnieks. “For us as a start-up it is a very big push forward.”
I have to admit that this is one of the coolest 3D printed devices that I have seen, yet it makes me wonder what Magnafield has planned for the future. If this is just a prototype to “prove” the technology, then what will their other products look like?
“These devices are multifunctional,” Zvejnieks tells us. “Besides levitation, they can transfer wireless power to levitating objects and even exchange data between device and levitating part. As an example, I can mention a levitating robotic hand for operations in quarantine zones. This hand can move objects, analyze objects and send data outside quarantine zone.”
A levitating hand that can protect medical workers is something that could certainly help in preventing the spread of diseases, such as the recent Ebola outbreak in west Africa. Imagine if these hands could replace workers’ presence in these high risk areas, and prevent the spread of deadly viruses. This is just touching the surface though, as far as what this technology could ultimately lead to. I’m very excited to follow Magnafield in their endeavor to bring “smart” levitating machines and devices to market.
What do you think about this levitation device? Do you think this technology could lead to a more technologically advanced society? What else could you see this tech being used for? Discuss in the 3D Printed Electromagnetic Levitaton Device forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the videos below of the 3D printed levitation device in action.