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At first glance, this Magic Wand For Levitation may look like it is performing something supernatural when it is levitating strange objects. Unfortunately, it’s not actually doing anything magical, but instead is just a neatly packaged Van de Graaff generator, which uses electrostatic charge to attract (presumably metallic) bits of Mylar. While slightly disappointing, I still like the effect, and the idea of whisking things around with the flick of a wrist fascinates me. It also means that it should be possible to remake without any special crystals.

About that profit part- anyone know how much metallic content is in paper currency? Because I could think of a good use or two for a bill-levitating wand… [via neatorama]


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Comments

  1. Nathan says:

    My grandfather brought one of those to a family gathering, primarily for the younger kids, but I ended up having the most fun with it, figuring out exactly how it worked and testing its capabilities. Also, getting the little mylar shapes off of the ceiling is really annoying. A Van de Graff generator, for those who don’t remember from grade school science, is basically the automated equivalent of rubbing a balloon against your head a whole lot of times(presuming you have hair). I wish honestly wish I knew if there was a really good use for static electricity. I’ve only ever it used either accidentally, in lightning strikes, or just for show.

  2. oskay says:

    Why “Unfortunately?” Most, if not all, things have natural explanation. I’m always *happy* when I learn the mechanism of an interesting phenomenon, not disappointed.

    Also, kind of reminds me of something else:
    http://makezine.com/extras/87.html

    1. Matt Mets says:

      Hehehe, I was hoping to catch someone with that. From a scientific perspective, it’s kind of boring if we already understand the phenomena, right? All kidding aside though, having an understanding of what’s going on also makes me happy (and I even have a rambling artist’s statement to this effect: http://www.cibomahto.com/2009/10/my-creation-myth/ )

    2. Matt Mets says:

      Also, those lifters are really cool. Ever make one? We just recently received a high voltage benchtop power supply, and I’m considering giving it a try.

  3. Andy L says:

    I’ve got one of these wands. It’s great fun.

    You absolutely need to use it in a room with no air currents.

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