Project Spotlight: Hover Pen/Hover Train

November 8th, 2016 Comments Off on Project Spotlight: Hover Pen/Hover Train

If you’ve seen any mysterious fog around XCJ lately, it’s likely not magic…or maybe it is?


Ivan suspends 100g with YCBO levitation

For the past two months, Sean Purser-Haskell and Ivan Tchekashkin have been developing practical demos to showcase superconductor technology. Using YBCO (Yttrium Barium Copper Oxide) cooled by liquid nitrogen to -196 degrees Celsius, they’re able to levitate magnetic materials. They’ve applied this special property to create what they call the “Hover Pen” – a white-board with a marker that writes on its own; and the “Hover Train” – a scale model transit system that suspends superconductor-enabled train cars with a magnetic rail.


From left to right: Maciej Dudek, Danny Kuo, Ivan Tchekashkin, Sean Purser-Haskell

At last Wednesday’s open house the team demonstrated the “Hover Pen” to a mesmerized crowd.


Although it’s easy to use YBCO to levitate small magnets in place – a simple physics demonstration – scaling this property is another story. You quickly encounter problems when asked to achieve a certain level of control, or to “levitate heavy things.” The duo have had to rely on more than just past education and work experience; they’ve had to consider plenty of electromagnetic theory and have frequently risked their fingers playing with magnets and liquid nitrogen.

Although they’ve focused most of their time on issues with superconductor technology, they recognize that putting together the whole system required a large base of knowledge – most gained from past projects at Xinchejian. And without the contributions of Maciej Dudek and Danny Kuo, the demos wouldn’t have their clean form or peripheral functions.

Their demos were showcased by a superconductor manufacturer at the China International Industry Fair this past week. Stop by Xinchejian and take a look at the (almost) finished products!

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