You may remember ferrofluid as item #11 from the best gift guide we've ever done. While it's totally true that you can play with it out in the open, this purpose-built sculpture (now on Kickstarter) promises to make the process even more weird and fun. And way less messy.
A ferrofluid consists of tiny little magnetic particles suspended in oil. It's a puddle of black goop until you put it next to a magnet, which causes the fluid to start flowing out along the lines of magnetic force, creating bizarre spiky shapes. Things get even stranger looking with two magnets, since you can get the fluid to jump back and forth between them in defiance of gravity.
Messing around this stuff at home is certainly possible, but this sculpture by designer and engineer David Markus makes it easy (and clean). It's made of aluminum and specially coated superhydrophillic glass, with a dollop of ferrofluid suspended inside a proprietary clear liquid inside. Several magnets are included to let you manipulate the ferrofluid, and you are of course free to use your own magnets to see what happens.
The sculpture, called Ferrite, is currently on Kickstarter for a pledge of $150. Yeah, seems like a lot, but hit the link and check out the video of this thing in action before you decide not to shell out for one of your very own.
Check it out in the video below.