Nanoscale ferromagnetic particles are a truly strange substance. Suspended in an oily fluid, the particles can be made to “dance” under the influence of a strong magnetic source, spasming and gesticulating wildly with movements that almost seem alive. Korean artist and designer Dakd Jung uses the substance to impart his creation, the FAV-LE22 Fluid Audio Visualizer with a mesmerizing and otherworldly level of interactivity to add another dimension to music.
Originally developed by NASA in the 1960s, nanoscale ferromagnetic particles were first used for fuel transport in zero-gravity space, spacecraft, and sealing connections in space suits. Jung notes the substance was also suited as a damper for high-end speakers, alongside use in rotating shafts for motors, and for gas sealing.
“While researching ferrofluids, I discovered their interesting movement and prototyped ferromagnetic particles to respond to music,” explains Jung, “Immediately after posting the production video on social media and overseas community websites, the video spread quickly, and I noted how many people liked it.”
Flooded with requests about collaborative opportunities and custom production designs, the artist/designer went to further develop the design into a production model. Thus began the development of the BurnSlap FAV-LE22 Fluid Audio Visualizer.
The biggest challenge proved to be keeping the ferrofluid from sticking to glass. “It is very tricky to keep the ferrofluid from sticking to the glass bottle,” explains the designer. “Most of the existing cheap magnetic fluid toys are difficult to use because the magnetic fluid easily sticks to the glass bottle or the magnetic fluid changes after a certain period of time.” He’d go onto develop a special proprietary glass surface processing technology that prevents magnetic fluid from sticking to the glass surface before moving onto developing the hardware circuit design and software algorithm to make the substance dance.
The eventual fruit of his efforts, the FAV-LE22 visualizer, is outfitted with modest 5W speakers and can also be connected for pass-through for more robust audio playback support.
Unsurprisingly, all of the attention online has made the $985 FAV-LE22 a very popularly sought-after device. Currently sold out with the first batch of visualizers shipped in late November, the designer will hopefully restock soon to bring the magnetic personality of his creation to more admirers.