Kickstarter campaign launched for ‘Halitron’ magnetic levitation device
27th November 2014
The Halitron is a mesmerising new device for anyone interested in the laws of physics. Spin a top within a carefully calculated magnetic field and watch it ‘float’ in mid-air.
The Halitron is not only fascinating to play with, but it also lets you truly experiment and explain fundamental space and physics theories.
Oxford and Natal Physicist, Max Michaelis, has launched his Halitron concept through crowd funding website Kickstarter to help create an adjustable design that can be shipped for home assembly so that people can create their own experiments.
Max observes: “I’ve been developing the Halitron for several years now, with each iteration providing further insight into the world of magnetic traps. The Halitron not only demonstrates a fascinating phenomenon, but the physics concepts that it demonstrates are relevant across many different fields, including space science, particle physics and MRI technology.”
Max first approached Isis Innovation, the University of Oxford’s commercialisation company, who protected the intellectual property of the design. Isis then worked with another local partner over the past 18 months, Oxford Product Design, to develop the prototype further. The development work was carried out under Isis’ SME Smart IP Scheme.
“Watching the Halitron top float mid-air really does bring to mind the famous saying that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” said Isis Innovation Senior Technology Transfer Manager, Dr Jon Carr. “The Halitron teaches you some of the fundamental physics of the Universe, but now we really need this idea to go out into the real world.”
Rupert Wilkinson, founder of Oxford Product Design agrees with Dr Carr: “With some additional investment Max can really reach out to a greater audience with the Halitron, which is only the beginning of the scientific possibilities for this technology.”
The Kickstarter campaign will be running from November 25th to December 15th 2014 with a goal of raising £55,000. Visit the Halitron Kickstarter page.
About magnetic levitation
Magnetic levitation is a method of suspending an object with no support other than magnetic fields. Magnetic force is used to counteract the effects of the gravitational and any other accelerations. This is the first time that an object has been spun horizontally in a passive system without using an electro-magnetic drive (precession and nutation).
The Halitron uses magnetic technology which allows low frictional horizontal axis spinning. It consists of a small magnetic spinning top and a mathematically calculated permanent magnet array. The opposing magnetic polarity of the spinning top to the magnet array provides the basis ‘lift’ against gravity. The interaction of these magnetic fields creates a specific ‘trap’ and the principle of the conservation of angular momentum ‘holds’ the spinning top in position.