Ferrolic is a desk clock which looks like an ever-evolving Rorschach test. Created by Zelf Koelman from the Eindhoven University of Technology, Ferrolic uses ferrofluid to tell the time, with this seemingly magical liquid moving gracefully around inside the clock as the minutes tick by.
The Ferrolic clock is, on the face of it, a minimalist object, comprising nothing more than an aluminum frame and glass panel. However, behind the simple facade sits a basin containing ferrofluid, and a powerful set of electromagnets. These hidden magnets manipulate the black liquid to form numbers.
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Ferrofluid is a magnetized liquid developed in 1963 by NASA engineer Steve Papell. It was originally intended to be a liquid rocket fuel that could be drawn toward a pump inlet in zero-gravity conditions. However, it has since been used in a range of fields, including mechanical engineering and healthcare.
Its latest use is in art installations and innovative re-imaginings of everyday objects. Which, thanks to Ferrolic, includes the desk clock. The software which controls the electromagnets can be hacked to render "text, shapes, and transitions" in addition to the standard numbers.
Ferrolic is only available in a limited run of 24 clocks, each of which is priced at an eye-watering €7,500 (US$8,300). However, Koelman has hinted at a Kickstarter campaign possibly being launched in the future, which should up the number of pieces available while also lowering the price. Fingers crossed.
You can see the fluid dancing around the clock face in the video below.