It goes without saying – science should be (and most often is) fun and entertaining. When we’re curious our minds are the most open to new ideas and sometimes people forget that ‘playing’ is the most natural form of discovery and exploration – especially where innovation for product design is concerned.
Nanotechnology is the study of matter on an atomic and molecular scale. Peer into the atomic world where scientists are using nanotechnology to develop lifesaving cures and ingenious inventions. As a layman we may wonder what would be the use of studying about particles 1 billionth the size of a meter. Nanotechnology and nanoparticles right now seems like something straight out of a Sci-Fi movie or video game. For example, Nanoscientists have created objects that can bend light completely around themselves, making them invisible. In what sounds like something that’s straight out of the latest 007 movie, there are even business suits already on the market that use carbon nanotubes to make the fabric bullet proof. Bond, James Bond!
Meet Kyle Haines, Owner of Inspired Designs. Kyle is experimenting with Ferrofluid, which was born out of a NASA science lab in 1963 as a liquid rocket fuel that could be drawn toward a pump inlet in a weightless environment by applying a magnetic field. Normally, solid particles mixed in a liquid will eventually settle to the bottom because of gravity – like mixing sand in water – but, if the particles are small enough (say 10 nm) they won’t be pulled down by gravity. This is simply because of a force called Brownian Motion.
Brownian Motion is the tendency of liquid molecules to be constantly moving around. As a result, they bombard other particles in the liquid. And when the particles are very small in size this force is strong enough to counteract the force of gravity. The spiking is the result of a few different forces competing with each-other. On a fundamental level these would be the Van Der Waals force (attractive/repulsive forces between molecules), gravity and the magnetic force.
Kyle relates the visual wonder of watching Ferrofluid be distorted with magnets to a giant balloon being bounced around by a crowd of people; the sea of waving hands will keep the balloon in the air. It was this natural act of ‘playing’ with science that inspired Kyle to develop two products that make use of Ferrofluid including ‘The Thinker’ (which retails for $49) and ‘The Inspiration’ (which retails for $149).
“I believe ferrofluid is a great icon to represent the 21st century, much in the same way motion lamps are considered an icon of the 1960’s counterculture revolution,” says Kyle.
“People embraced it as a sort of statement to the zeitgeist of that era. That’s how I feel about ferrofluid at this point in time. This is why I created The Inspiration.”
In this new age of alchemy and wizardry, Kyle is surely the master of his destiny…and maybe unknowingly ours, too. Being creative with magnetic materials like Ferrofluid is not just a novelty but a whole other kind of generative design experience; this is why we believe Ferrofluid is symbolic of the future and an inspirational medium.
You can pick up one of Kyle’s display bottles that include Ferrofluid starting at just $49 over on Kickstarter.