Ferrolic Display Oozes Electromagnetic Personality

08.24.15 | By
Ferrolic Display Oozes Electromagnetic Personality

What if your display wasn’t powered by pixels but seemingly alive creatures? That’s the visual effect of the Ferrolic Display, a clock filled with ferrofluid, a liquid created by NASA as a “liquid rocket fuel that could be drawn toward a pump inlet in a weightless environment by applying a magnetic field” all the way back in 1965. Fifty years later it’s being used as an aquarium of time.

Ferrolic Display creator Zelf Koelman explains how he came to designing his unique timepiece:

“A few years ago I fell in love with the magical characteristics of a little black “blob” in a bottle. One could manipulate the position and shape of a floating drop of Ferro Fluid with a magnet. The dynamics and shape of this liquid body was much like a living entity. I decided to allow this entity to live its own life and have a function. A year of research and engineering eventually resulted in Ferrolic.”


The Ferrolic Display’s software can be modified via web browser and connects via Wi-Fi, meaning in theory users could experiment with the display for purposes beyond time keeping, manipulating the combination of powerful electromagnets and ferrofluid within in all sort of creative manners. Just look at what others have done exploring the properties of this same unique liquid…

Gregory Han is Tech Editor of Design Milk. A Los Angeles native with a profound love and curiosity for design, hiking, tide pools, and road trips, a selection of his adventures and musings can be found at