Seriously, I’m not making this up. They don’t have teeth, they interact with each other entirely though their magnetic fields. And that’s just the beginning.
For those of you who decided not to watch the video, the short version is that a company called Correlated Magnetics Research has figured out how to “print” a magnet with a customized (i.e. designed) magnetic field. They call them “programmable magnets.”
Creating frictionless gears is just one of the many applications of this technology. The possibilities are pretty much endless. We’re talking new methods of construction on every scale, from engines to furniture to computers to…heck, I’m having trouble thinking of ANYTHING this couldn’t effect. Cars? Sure. Building construction? Yeah, probably. Elevators? I don’t see why not. SPACESHIPS? We really don’t have to go there to make this cool, but okay, let’s throw it on the list.
I’m not an engineer, but I’m having a seriously hard time thinking of a technological development in the field of engineering that was this huge since we figured out standardized parts. I mean seriously, this is game changing.
Normally this is the point in the post where I would start talking about all the science fiction technology that will now be possible because of this innovation. Unfortunately, I can’t think of a single example. BECAUSE THIS IS TOO CRAZY EVEN FOR FICTION! I mean, seriously, frictionless gears? Who would believe that?
The applications of this technology are only limited by people’s imagination. And the company who’s invented this technology knows that. CMR is doing something really smart, and trying to reach out to as many third party developers as possible and working with them to develop new applications for their licensed technology. They want people to come be creative with what they have made possible. Rather then limiting the use of the technology to a single field, they are trying to get it out there, to let people invent. And I say good for them, that’s a seriously smart way to go about handling such a major innovation.
So what is there even to say about this, really? Well…I don’t know. I’m left pretty much speechless. This is going to be one of those developments that future generations of kids learn about at school. But for now, all I can really do is sit back and wait to see what happens as this technology finds its place in the world. One thing I know for sure: given time, people will come up with applications for this technology far more creative and imaginative then I could make up in a hundred years of writing sci-fi.
Because reality really is stranger and more wonderful than fiction.