I am very fond of magnetic toys and I have
quite a number of them in my collection. Only very occasionally, in fact only twice
I think, I have come across magnetic toys which have a completely new principle, and
this is the second one I have come across. Extraordinary.
And it consists of just four neodymium discs which are very strong magnets, and then here
we have a ring containing six very small neodymium magnets.
And now to make the effect we simply have to join these pieces together, thus. That
is quite strong now. And this one here, that is a strong one.
To show how strong they are, we will just bring them together and see what happens.
It is going to push it away from quite a distance. Anyway we want it to be attracting, so I am
going to put it in that mode there, where it is going to come towards it. I will keep
it away. Now the ring here, we are going to get this
into repulsion mode, to try and get it to push away.
Oh, it is attracting. So I will turn it over, and now it should repel.
Yes, it is repelling. Now the clever part is when we put these two
pieces together as an assembly; we have now got a single magnetic system in
which we have one that is going to be attracted to this, and the little set of six which are
being repelled by this outside magnet. What is going to happen?
When I bring it towards it, it is being attracted by the middle one but it is being repelled
by the little satellite ones on the outside. What could happen?
Oh. It was attracted and it stopped; it is being repelled.
There is about an eighth or quarter inch air gap there, where it cannot get any closer,
but not further away either. That is absolutely amazing.
If I turn this one, well nothing much there. If I turn the big one though, the ring,
let us see what happens. It turns round with it. Still maintaining
that air gap of about an eighth to quarter inch.
All the way round. It refuses to get any closer and yet it will
not go any further away either. It is a kind of equilibrium – it is stuck there, like an
invisible arm joining the two together. It is called an Inverter by the inventor,
and it reminds him I suppose of the tractor beam in Star Trek. Invisible.
But anyway to me it is magic. It is a physics I do not understand, but it is wonderful.