Remember those magnetic hair-do games you'd play with as a kid? There was Hair-Do Harriet, and the vaguely menacing Wooly Willy. Well now there's Laurent Milon, French industrial designer extraordinaire. His Magnetic Rings are made using frozen iron powder (cheap) in conjunction with ferromagnetic precious metals, like silver, copper, and nickel. The project was done as part of his diploma, which focused on "creating shapes that would evade the limits of nowadays' industrial process" thanks to the random forms created through (partially) natural means. The video is truly delightful and very helpful in visualizing his methodology. Plus, you get to see an animate clump of iron powder closely resemble a hedgehog devouring glitter. [via DesignBoom]
Now, I'm no science buff, but thinking back to kid stuff I couldn't help but be reminded of those crystal garden growing kits I used to fawn over — the forms are remarkably similar. So I tried to learn a little more online about the similarities between magnetic forms and the way crystals grow. It turns out that crystal architecture plays a deciding role in determining the magnetic properties of molecular materials (more here). Cool! If anyone has any more info or thoughts on this I'd be super stoked to learn more.