Phantom Water

You guys wanted it, here it is. Our resident contributer and critic Zippy Flounder’s latest project called Phantom Water. A clock whose face is dynamically created by the science (magic) of ferro fluidics. His design goes beyond normal ferro fluids by being clear, non-toxic and eco-friendly. The technology is being marketed as “Smart Water” (isn’t that a drink?), which could go beyond clock applications to signage displays and anything else your creative minds can think of. Check out the video after the jump and sound off in comments!

Designer: Zippy Flounder


  • Carl says:

    waste of time..

    • Carl says:

      water waste of time..

      • Sorry you feel that way Carl, in the consumer research we did it seems your not in the majority. What would make it a non waste of time in your to you?

        • confucius says:

          I think you missed the pun there zippy, Carls being clever. It’ll wash..

        • Uli says:

          Awesome! zippy, what kind of consumer/market research did you obtain and how did you go about doing it? i want to learn how to find out if an idea is going fly or not.

          • Did both formal and informal, the formal was showing a movie of a earlier prototype to the dealers of similar products as well as interior designers and architects. This was a standard form questionnaire to establish form’s, features, and perceived value. We also got a good handle on FAQ’s. The informal was taking the earlier prototype and installing it in some venues (read parties) and having a person hover around to catch the off hand comments and ask questions.

            The combination of formal and informal works well to balance out peoples natural tendencies to be “nice”, its amazing how honest some folk will be when they have had a few glasses of wine or spirits in them.

  • zippyflounder says:

    Just thought I would mention there is audio that go’s with the vid.

  • Josh says:

    Neat idea. So I’m guessing that some metallic powder is released to flow with the water, and the back surface is an electromagnetic plate. Is this correct?

    • zippyflounder says:

      Close, its a ceramic ferric oxide with some secret stuff that is recirculated and re used. What is not shown is the logo that is below the fully functional analog clock. The logo or graphic can be anything, in some of the first prototypes I had Chinese symbols for luck and love, cause you can never have too much of either.

      • Josh says:

        Yeah this is really neat. Keep up the good work. Did I guess correctly about
        there being an electromagnetic plate behind the flowing water? How are you
        able to attract the ceramic ferric oxide to only the desired location to
        make the design?

  • Victor Assis says:

    Well, I like it. It’s not the regular hi-tech-usb-whatever design, neither the useless-automotive-innovative-mechanics that are so often seen here at yanko, so it really strikes me as an odd, but very interesting design.

    The possibilities are, let say, endless. Have you thought about colours, Zippy? Maybe each color with different magnetic properties, and a panel capable of attracting the particles in different ways to display high (or higher at least)resolution images? What do you think? Am I just going nuts here?

    • Can do colors Victor, but at this time its monochromatic, cant make a pig fly as they say (well more than once that is).

      • Victor Assis says:

        Well, we humans can fly, and we’re not that different from pigs, hehehe…
        Anyway, if you’re ever looking for some help, let me know, I’d love to help.

        • will be looking for designers to work with us on this, keep a eye open here in the jobs area or contact me over at

  • Henrique Staino says:

    I like it, but not for the design itself, wich i think is useless. But it opens a huge door for possibilities! Real nice!

    • The design Herique is a “Generic” home water wall design that is built by a number of different companies and used it so the display tech was the focal point, not the water feature. I want to now move to water features that are beautiful in of themselfs, with the smart water technology incorperated to add that bit of “wow”. I am working on some new designs and will be looking for other designers to colabrate both on small production units as well as big custom jobs.

      Imagine a 30 foot tall mirrored triangular column in the middle of a hotel lobby, each face having a clock appear and disappear that shows time for local and other capital city’s around the world. Then below is the logo of the hotel chain, or information on upcoming events. Its all possible, and realistic.

      • Henrique Staino says:

        That’s what I’m talking about. I’m not very fond of (and that is personal, I understand that others do not feel the same way) designs like the one you said, a huge thing, on wich materials and energy were spent, that will stop working some day and will become garbage, just to show the time and the news in a hotel lobby. That’s not very appealing to me. I believe in solving problems more than adding configurations to the world. You know, every configuration becomes an obstacle for someone sooner or later.
        Anyways, what has been developed here appears to be fantastic! My congratulations!

        • Henrique: I understand and agree with your position, the caveat is that many of these are built of serious materials, steel, stainless steel, copper, bronze, and titanium so when they do wear out or go out of fashion the materials are recycled. The pumps last a very long time, as do the rest of the mechanical bits. In the end all things wear our,or go out of style and so we can just make sure that the materials are appropriate and where ever cost effectively recyclable.

  • ID Chuckie says:

    Yeah I love the design! Theres just something so peaceful about water flowing over a surface like that. I understand that you recycle and re-use the water, however since this is essentially a clock, and inherently always on, the water will eventually evaporate. Maybe not as much if it is left indoors and placed in a shaded area with not much sun, but still… Have you looked into how to prevent the water from evaporating? Or at least slowing its evaporation? Its just that there are many parts of the world that are having severe water shortages, and many believe that soon enough, this will affect the rest of the world. Just makes me wonder if water was the best medium to achieve that effect. Once again beautiful clock!

    • Chuckie: At worst the water evaporates to go back into the world wide recycling system (clouds, rain) and the reality is that it is potable water, you can drink it. For out door applications in real cold climates we use salt water, so I see no reason that you could not use sea water too if you wanted too. One of the side benefits of these types of water effects (and one primary reason they are used in desert countries) is that they do provide some humidity. The clock function is only a default, it could also display text or graphics, making it a new type of signage.

  • just wanted to let you all know we will soon be offering stock units for sale, a whole bunch of new designs and custom units too.

  • amey says:

    hey zippy …initially i thoughts its just an edited video… bt from the posts & explanation i got that its true! Well really nice work… but does it stuck to only clock… i think we can do better than this wall clcok… this technic can be used to make excellent bulding facades & even those facades can help to keep building cool due to flowing water… i m architect… & i would love to know more about it!!

    • zippyflounder says:

      Amey: No I do photoshop, I am old school, the real deal and ALL the tech issues ironed out. The clock was picked because everybody loves analog clocks and will pay silly money for them it seems. Drop me a line over at and lets chat about your ideas.

  • zippyflounder says:

    edit…I DON’T do photoshop, thats what you get for typing with your toes. LOL

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