Hi-Fi Meets Sci-Fi with this Levitating Turntable [w/ Video]

While the principle of magnetic levitation (mag-lev to its friends) works a treat for trains by allowing them to reach speeds of which their gravity-bound, rail-hugging counterparts can only dream, the concept has other, slightly-less-obvious applications. For example, a Slovenian startup called Mag-Lev Audio has, together with design firm Desnahemisfera and solar energy company Topsol, created what might be the coolest piece of home audio equipment we’ve ever seen.

Dubbed, appropriately enough, the First Levitating Turntable, this gizmo does most of the things you expect from a modern record player: It lets you select the speed (33⅓ or 45 rpm), connect to your stereo through the phono in jack, and automatically lifts up the tone arm and cartridge (which come pre-fitted from the factory) when they reach the end of an album’s side. The big difference, of course, is the platter: It rotates and floats above the body of the unit when operating, the gap between illuminated by a subtle orange ring of light glowing upward from the body.

But what happens in a power outage? Won’t the platter have a calamitous crash and put your precious pressed vinyl in peril? As a matter of fact, no, as there’s a back-up power supply built in to the unit to give sufficient time to power down properly, allowing the platter to come to a gentle rest on the specially designed feet that rise out of the unit. That’s a great way to protect your investment, and it is a sizable investment: On , the current cheapest option that gets you a turntable (You can also donate as little as $3 to the firm’s $300,000 goal…provided you’re okay with not getting anything tangible in return, that is.) is the $840 Early Bird special for a single imitation-wood trimmed one. You can also spend in excess of $1,780 for a pair of faux-wood examples, which is still but a small price to pay to blow your guests’ minds.

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