It’s not over, aspiring wizards.
If you’re still crying about the fact that no letter appeared on your 11th birthday to invite you to your true Hogwarts destiny, we can relate. But thanks to the magic of technology, us ostracized Muggles aren’t as far away from glory as our ancestors may have been. Actually, some of the best wizarding world magic now exists in real life.
So if you want to engage in some cool parts of the “Harry Potter” universe without the threat of Dark Lord unspeakable cursing you, check out the following:
1. Moving Images
“The clipping had clearly come out of the wizarding newspaper, The Daily Prophet, because the people in the black-and-white picture were moving. Harry picked up the clipping, smoothed it out, and read.” -Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
In the wizarding world, photographs aren’t just still-captures of animated life — they move in their own right. The “Harry Potter” characters probably encounter this most in the animated photographs of newspaper The Daily Prophet. While in real life we don’t yet have moving pictures in hard copy or physical newspapers, we do have ever-present GIFs, which online media platforms utilize with frequency. (For example, above this block of text is a moving image in a newspaper … of a moving image in a newspaper.)
And GIFs are just the tip of the magical photo iceberg!
“There was a big photograph on the front of a very good-looking wizard with wavy blond hair and bright blue eyes. As always in the wizarding world, the photograph was moving.” -Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
The “Harry Potter” characters also encounter moving photographs outside of newspapers, which Muggles can now make part of daily life. With magical-seeming picture frame Canviz, humans can decorate their homes with moving images. In their review of Canviz, Digital Trends told their readers they will “finally be able to outfit your walls with those weird, subtly-moving, ‘Harry Potter’-style moving pictures you’ve always wanted.”
2. Invisibility Cloak
“Harry looked down at his feet, but they were gone. He dashed to the mirror. Sure enough, his reflection looked back at him, just his head suspended in midair, his body completely invisible. He pulled the cloak over his head and his reflection vanished completely.” -Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak lets him vanish from sight in many a moment of need. In real life, there’s not exactly a piece of cloth we can drape over ourselves to low-key break into banks (which is probably good in terms of, like, upholding society). But, disappearing from sight isn’t quite impossible. Scientists at the University of Rochester have developed a device which uses a series of lenses to hide objects from view.
“This is the first device that we know of that can do three-dimensional, continuously multidirectional cloaking, which works for transmitting rays in the visible spectrum,” PHD student Joseph Choi told Rochester Newscenter about the device.
FYI, trouble makers.
3. Self-Stirring Cauldron
“The sun shone brightly on a stack of cauldrons outside the nearest shop. Cauldrons — All Sizes — Copper, Brass, Pewter, Silver — Self-Stirring — Collapsible, said a sign hanging over them.” -Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Stirring your own concoctions is unnecessary in the “Harry Potter” universe, where self-stirring cauldrons are readily available. Constant stirring vigilance can also be quite the nuisance in human life, when, for example, a sauce demands your attention, but you also need to chop some garlic on a cutting board across the kitchen. Cue the Kurukurunabe. While technically a pot and not a “cauldron,” the device, developed in Japan, self-stirs itself in a circular motion that looks like a whirlpool.
One step away from some potion mixing before dinner.
4. Marauder’s Map
“It was a map showing every detail of the Hogwarts castle and grounds. But the truly remarkable thing were the tiny ink dots moving around it, each labeled with a name in minuscule writing. Astounded, Harry bent over it. A labeled dot in the top left corner showed that Professor Dumbledore was pacing his study; the caretaker’s cat, Mrs. Norris, was prowling the second floor; and Peeves the Poltergeist was currently bouncing around the trophy room.” -Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Standard maps for car glove compartments can be useful if say, you get lost after GPS fritzes out and your cell phone is also out of battery. But far cooler is Harry’s Marauder’s map, which shows the location of everyone in Hogwarts. Now, certain human tracking applications come pretty close to magical capabilities.
In the Life 360 Family Locator app (for Android, iOS and Windows Phone) for example, members can join “Circles” and look to private maps that show the GPS location of each circle member. Participation is voluntary, so it’s not quite the Marauder’s map, but in our book, that’s a good thing. (Privacy!)
Everyone keep an eye out for secret mischief.
5. The Weasley Family Clock
“Mrs. Weasley glanced at the grandfather clock in the corner. Harry liked this clock. It was completely useless if you wanted to know the time, but otherwise very informative. It had nine golden hands, and each of them was engraved with one of the Weasley family’s names. There were no numerals around the face, but descriptions of where each family member might be. ‘Home,’ ‘school,’ and ‘work’ were there, but there was also ‘traveling,’ ‘lost,’ ‘hospital,’ ‘prison,’ and, in the position where the number twelve would be on a normal clock, ‘mortal peril.'” -Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
The Weasley house clock, showing the location of each family member, is a lot more useful than a standard time-telling device. Even in the Muggle world, typical clocks are pretty passé in the smartphone era. According to Hackaday, students at the University of Munich made clocks interesting again with their creation of a Weasley family-style device. Android and iOS apps send clock members’ locations to a server, which communicates with a circuit inside the clock that drives the hands.
Magic is real.
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