Using magnets to make technology more wearable

Flying in the face of the old wisdom that powerful magnets and delicate electronics don’t mix, start-up Celltack is making technology more wearable. Just slip a ring on to your finger and any mobile device fitted with the magnetic Celltack cleat remains, effortlessly, in your hand.

Celltack – one ring to control them all? (Image courtesy Celltack)

Earlier this year Celltack ran a crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo: although the start-up didn’t reach its goal, it’s still managed to go ahead with the launch of what it claims as the “first wearable smartphone docking system”, and opened an online shop.

The concept centers around a neodymium magnet, which according to Wikipedia is the “strongest type of permanent magnet commercially-available”.

This metal is found in hard disk drives, and as anyone who has ever dismantled one of these will know, those magnets are indeed powerful.

To use the dock, simply adhere the small concave cleat to the device of your choice. The Celltack starter kit comes with an alcohol swab so that the surface is super-clean, and the firm is offering free replacement tape to anyone who wants to remove and reseat their cleat on another device.

One ring to rule them all
Then slip on the ring and once your finger’s within range of the magnet, the two will bond firmly together. Since the ring is attached to a user’s finger, the phone can then be used one-handed without fear that it will slip from your grasp.

It does take a bit of a leap of faith to trust that the Celltack system won’t lose grip of an easily damaged $600 phone: Providing some reassurance, the firm’s Indiegogo page shows a video clip of one magnet being used to lift a stack of six iPhones. The ring can also be used as a nifty phone stand, useful for example if you’re watching a video.

That’s not all. Zürich, Switzerland-based Celltack’s next move is to develop a mobile app that recognizes each docking ring’s unique signature for “magnetic distance and presence recognition”. This means docking could also unlock the device, change your status on IM, etc. Sign us up for the beta!


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