Brooklyn-based designer Richard Clarkson has been experimenting with artificial cloud designs for several years now. His impressively executed series of artificial clouds range from simple lampshades to more complex interactive installations that mimic the audiovisual aspects of a thundercloud. His latest invention is the Floating Cloud – a magnetically levitating ambient lamp that flickers through different colored LED modes in response to the sound in a room.

Clarkson's first interactive cloud experiment came in 2014 in the form of a large hanging thundercloud. This iteration incorporated a Bluetooth speaker that used motion sensors to trigger thunderous rumbles and flickers of lightning in response to movement in the room while also still functioning as a speaker than can play your favorite songs.

The big drawback of these earlier cloud designs was the fact they still needed to be tethered to the ceiling via a cord, taking some of the illusion away. Last year Clarkson released his first levitating cloud product, called Making Weather. The floating cloud was similar to the previous hanging design but utilized magnetic levitation technology to wirelessly float above a reflective oval base.

Making Weather still incorporated the Bluetooth speaker into its design but Clarkson recently removed that aspect for his new Floating Cloud piece. The weight of the speaker turned out to significantly decrease the levitation height of the cloud, as well as dramatically reducing battery life. Also, in a display of prevailing common sense, the design team realized that a speaker just wasn't a necessary ingredient in the object.

The new Floating Cloud lamp can now levitates 2.75 inches (70 mm) off its base and contains an embedded microphone that senses the sound in its environment allowing for it to visually respond to music or voices in four different lighting styles. The cloud itself is made of a hypoallergenic polyester fiber and holds a hidden embedded lithium ion 6600 mAh battery.

These artificial clouds don't come cheap though, with a limited production run of 100, one will set you back US$4,620. These hand-made objects are certainly more in the realm of art pieces than easily available novelty lamps, but if you are keen and have the spare money then you can order one now from Clarkson's website.

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