Do you remember how cool it was to play with magnets as a kid? From attracting metal objects, allowing us to build things, to making its presence on household items, magnets are as practical as they are magical. When we were developing MOVA Creations, we wanted to create products that could truly fascinate and mesmerize. There was already a number of rotating globes on the market (most powered by electrical cords and batteries), so we wanted something that could rotate continuously on its own. That was when we turned to the practicality and wonder of magnets, things many people take for granted, into making this magic possible.
MOVA Globes and Magnets
While the technology of MOVA Creations are most associated with solar power, magnets play instrument role in making the MOVA motion and illusion possible. Because the solar cells hidden inside each MOVA Creation are concealed by the graphics, only so much ambient light can pass through and generate power to drive the rotation. To drive more force for the rotation, we needed a second source of power, and this need is where magnets come in.
Magnets are everywhere in our lives. There are magnets in computers, mobile devices, phones, trains and things we interact with on an everyday basis. All magnets have two poles: a north pole and south pole. The north pole of one magnet attracts to the south pole of another magnet, while the same poles repel each other. These attracting and repelling forces create rotational motion in electric motors, which provide power for a wide variety of objects, like cars.
We could have supplied a similar motor, connecting it via a shaft to our globes and along with the solar cells, create a low-friction motion mechanism that rotates the globe. However, the thought of it wasn’t compelling enough. We envisioned that looked like a miniature world moving independently on its own, and to accomplish that, we needed to have our motion mechanism inside. Another magnet – the compass – was the answer to our vision.
Compass in MOVA Creations
Like other magnets, a compass needle contains a lightweight magnetic pin that aligns itself with the Earth’s magnetic field. The pin is suspended so that no matter how you turn the casing, the pin can move freely inside and respond to the Earth’s magnetism. Much of this same effect is used in the MOVA Globe and MOVA Cube.
Compasses are one of the oldest tools in navigational history. It functions as a pointer to the magnetic north because the needle aligns itself with the horizontal component of the Earth’s magnetic field.
We supplied a large compass magnet in the inner globe of our creations. When a compass reacts to the Earth’s magnetic field, it stays in place pointing north no matter how you pivot the casing. Likewise, our compass magnet is kept in place by the Earth’s magnetic field and the reaction between the two allows the internal motion mechanism to pivot and turn the entire inner globe. Due to the low-friction environment, the globe is able to turn continuously, creating the illusion of one turning globe. Thus, using a compass magnet allowed us to place all the technology inside our products, making them appear to rotate from within. Magnets were not only responsible for providing power for our products, but they also allowed them to be magical in design.
Other companies are also looking to magnets as they experiment with ways to expand our imagination – here are a couple of innovations in magnets, levitation and motion that we’ve seen in recent years:
1. Nanodots GYRO: What happens when a magnet’s field is allowed to move independently from its surface? Inside each Nandots GYRO’s sphere is a set of two magnets mounted on a gimbal that allows them to move freely about inside the ball. The GYRO spheres interact with others in mind-boggling ways – you can use one to make the other spin or build things with them. The transparent casing lets you see how the magnets are reacting. This is an item that will make you feel like a kid again.
2. Air Bonsai: If you’ve ever dreamed of a floating, spinning bonsai tree, it’s now possible to own one. Designed by Japanese kickstarter company Air Bonsai, the kit is composed of two parts – a bottom half called the “energy base” and the floating moss ball called “the little star”. Both halves have magnets so that the “little star” could float with a bonsai tree on top.
3. Lexus SLIDE: Lexus’s hoverboard uses quantum magnetic levitation to achieve frictionless, futuristic movement. Liquid nitrogen-cooled superconductors are combined with a magnetic surface to create a magnetic field between the board and the ground, essentially repelling gravity. Back to the Future dreams come true!
4. Zen Magnets: Just when you thought attaching spoons and paper clips to magnets was fascinating, zen magnets are powerful magnets that allow you to build limitless shapes, geometric, flat, or 3D.
5. DIY Levitrons: Created by Dustin Skye, this is a DIY fog-filled bubble dome holding a spinning top floating in mid-air. Containing two magnets that repels each other, a gyroscopic effect is made that keeps the top stable as it spins. Many have created their own levitrons at home.
After seeing all the captivating things that magnets can do, we think magnets are the closest thing we have to magic. They represent the best aspects of science – practical and applicable to our daily lives, but also wonderful and mesmerizing. It’s no doubt that magnets will continue to play a role not only for our company as we continue to develop new MOVA Creations, but also in industrial capacities everywhere.