ZeroN? (VIDEO)

People who saw the 1984 film 2010: The Year We Make Contact might remember a scene in which Roy Scheider, while describing the orientation of the spaceship that he’s aboard, picks up a pen and places it in mid-air in front of himself. While that effect was actually accomplished using a sticky-sided pen and a very clear plate of glass, the same sort of thing is now actually possible – if you’re in the right place, and positioning the right object. The place is MIT’s Media Lab, and the object is a small plastic-coated spherical magnet called ZeroN. Users can physically place it anywhere within a specified three-dimensional block of “anti-gravity space,” then watch as it stays in place when they let it go. It can also move through the air on its own, and even function as a virtual movie camera.

What if materials could defy gravity, so that we could leave them suspended in mid-air? ZeroN is a physical and digital interaction element that floats and moves in space by computer-controlled magnetic levitation. MORE:gizmag