Attractive Van der Waals Speaker Crowdfunder Promises Nine Inches of Ferrofluid Visualization

A blob of ferrofluid and a clever algorithm provides eye-catching visualization in this smart Bluetooth speaker design.

Gareth Halfacree
13 days agoDisplays / Art / Music

Sergei Kuznetsov and colleagues are looking to bring ferrofluid music visualization mainstream, launching a crowdfunding campaign for an artsy speaker they call the Van der Waals — and boasting a nine-inch ferromagnetic fluid visualization system built-in.

"With Van der Waals, you can get the ultimate audio-visual listening experience — upping the ante and delivering a new dimension to your music experience," claims Kuznetsov. The name of the speaker is a tribute to the memory of the Dutch physicist and Nobel laureate Johannes Diderik van der Waals. He derived an equation of state that proved that the aggregation states of gas and liquid are based on the same level."

The Van der Waals packs ferrofluid visualization into an attractive four-speaker housing — but exists only as renders, for now. (📹: Van der Waals)

As the speaker receives music, a glob of ferrofluid — magnetic fluid - reacts to the movement of magnetic fields, providing a visualization element as it dances and warps. Devices connect via Bluetooth and drive four speakers with a claimed total 50W output power — with USB Type-C Power Delivery as the power source.

"With fluid control algorithms," Kuznetsov claims, "our users can immerse in a breath-taking visual spectacle which can adapt no matter your taste in music. This visualization adjusts according to the overarching frequencies and music volume, and the liquid itself can be seen from near and far."

As well as flashy renders, the team has shown off a functional prototype of the visualization element. (📹: Van der Waals)

It's not an entirely original idea: Earlier this year maker Dadk Jung showed off a 3D-printed ferrofluid visualization speaker which used the very same techniques, right down to Bluetooth connectivity, while the FerroPet eschewed audio functionality in favor of a manually-controlled ferrofluid "pet."

Kuznetsov — whose Kickstarter account is, for some reason, registered under the name "Daniel Feltsman," which does not appear in the list of people involved in the project — has yet to showcase a finished product, leaning heavily on computer-generated renders of the proposed design. The team has, however, shown the ferrofluid blob itself in action — outside the planned speaker housing.

The Van der Walls crowdfunding campaign is now live on Kickstarter, with physical rewards starting at $349 for Super Early Bird backers and $449 for regular backers, with delivery expected to take place in November next year.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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