Furniture & Lighting
Lamp turns on with floaty magnet
fiat_lux_lamp.jpg

I’m digging the way you turn on this fiat lux lamp by designers Constance Guisset and Grégory Cid. In place of the standard light switch, you place an orb under the lamp, which then (presumably) uses a magnetic field to hold it in place. When you are done, you simply pull it away and the light goes out.

I think it would be awesome to make this into a timer for the light- the lamp could have a control system that slowly lowers the orb, until it gets far enough away that it drops to the floor and shuts off the light. Anyone want to try it? [via notcot]

22 thoughts on “Lamp turns on with floaty magnet

  1. Even better. Make every light in your house work on this system and only give each person one ball to turn them on. This way when they leave the room they have to turn the light off to turn another on. I’d love for my kids to have to do this. Just rig it where it fades off slowly when the ball is removed so that they have enough light to reach the next light safely.

  2. It’s a fake. Although you can hardly see it. In the video at 2:00 you can see her detach the ball, using her index- and middlefinger, from the thread it’s hanging from.

    Still a nice idea though.

  3. I’m pretty this would not work. i think many people try to “float” magnets when they play with it. the ball either sticks or falls, unless there’s something inside the lamp that’s oscillating another magnet inside.

    i’ll believe it when i see it.

  4. How could that work? I’ve never been able to hang magnets like that, they either fall or make contact with each other.

    I can see a darkspot on the top half where she attaches the orb when the light is off. Perhaps a tiny thread and black magnet/metal is hanging from the bottom and the orb attaches to that?

  5. I agree it’s fishy. And the translation does mention the word “illusion” – however from what I’m seeing this could work.

    http://www.instructables.com/id/Electromagnetic-Floater/

    I suppose you would add a sensor running constantly to detect the presence of the switch, have that turn on the electromagnet as well as the lamp, then turn off when the switch is removed.

    I’d like to try and think of a way to do this with just an array of sensors rather than a micro-controller if possible…

  6. hey i think that it does hang on a string! but when you move the ball up then it activates a magnetic switch. so it doesnt need to reley on the magnet to hold it up ;-}

  7. The way she detached it, my guess is that the switch is a small magnet hanging from a string out the bottom of the light. The ball sticks to that magnet, and the weight on the string is what turns the light on. It’s not levitation, but it’s not exactly fake, either.

  8. Suppose you walk into a dark room. You’ll need to find the orb before turning it on. A light switch will do fine for most folks!

    1. Cover the orb with phosphorescent coating. As it mostly hangs under lit lamp in very strong light, it should glow brightly in the dark and lighten the room dimly.

      Or, alternatively, equip lamp with sensitive magnetic field sensor and make it start glowing when it senses small disturbance in the magnetic field. That would enlarge the target area – you wouldn’t have to bring the orb at exact spot to get any reaction from the lamp. Plus, the lamps would show ghostly activity in thunderstorms at night (*shivers*), unless there is some integration of input applied.

  9. I don’t know if this particular instance of suspending a ball using a magnet is a fake or not, but generally speaking it’s easy to suspend an object using magnets — ELECTRO magnets that is. The object to be suspended has a permanent magnet — rare earth usually — in it. The arm above has an electro-magnet. It turns on and off very rapidly in response to it’s sensing (Hall effect?) how far away the all is — simple feedback. ball gets further away, magnet duty cycle increases.

    I guess you could easily poll the Hall effect sensor and turn the lamp on or off based on the current (driven by the presence of a ball).

    There are toys that use this effect: http://www.livesciencestore.com/56853.html

    It’s a little hard to get the hang of placing the object — you have to sort of listen / feel the vibration as you move it up and own in the field – when you find the sweet spot gently release. Helps to brace your hand on the arm and just use your thumb and forefinger.

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