Polar is a pen made of 12 rare-earth magnets, which has blown way, way past its modest Kickstarter goal. It's the ultimate in fidget-gadgets, wildly reconfigurable, with the power to levitate magnetized rings along its axis. Wired's Kyle VanHemert calls it the Sistine Chapel of time wasting.
Gardner, who works as Indiedesign in Waterloo, Ontario, has been fascinated with magnets since a young age. He's been an avid disassembler of pens for just as long. When those two passions converged earlier this year, he knew he was onto something right away. "You'd think it was more of a progression, but it wasn't actually," he says. He found it to be an elegant solution even before he figured out all of its, erm, extracurricular potential; the magnets hold everything together, so it requires no screws and no glue. "When I first came up with the design," Gardner explains, "I actually did a lot of looking around, like, 'how has nobody ever done something like this. This has to be done by somebody, so I better go do it.'"
Polar's fantastic crowd-funded success has come with its drawbacks. There are already a slew of magnet-pen copycats rushing to market, and some have tried to peg Polar as a health hazard, throwing it in with other controversial small magnet products like BuckyBalls, whose fun was matched only by their swallowability. And then, of course, there's the lingering concern that always comes with carrying a stack of magnets in your pocket: that you run the risk of messing up some other thing, either wiping the magnetic data off your credit card or somehow turning your smartphone into an expensive paper weight. Gardner says been carrying one around himself, though, and has no ill effects to report with his electronics or his credit cards. He has, however, found that Polar is strong enough to wipe flimsier transportation cards clean, a fact that's left him trapped behind the turnstile on more than one occasion. Still, that's a small price to pay, especially considering that he had the perfect thing to keep him busy until he managed to flag down some help.
This Amazing Magnetic Pen Will Take Hours From Your Life [Kyle VanHemert/Wired]