The History of the World’s First Commercial
From-Below Electromagnetic Levitation System
In 1992, University of British Columbia professor and physicist, Dr. Lorne Whitehead was granted his first patent for his levitation invention. Whitehead’s patent was a pivotal point in history, making it possible to commercially suspend anything an inch or so in the air, completely from-below.
Whitehead was inspired by his father’s dream to see a magnet levitated with nothing around it, and realized that such a low-cost permanent magnet-based levitation system would be “uplifting” for the world.
A colleague of Dr. Whitehead, named Dr. Harold Davis- who ran the University’s Engineering Physics Lab – became intrigued with Whitehead’s groundbreaking invention and began working with him on refining it during the mid-1990s.
The first from-below electromagnetic Levitron, the “MARK-I” (1997)
Entrepreneurs Karen Campisano and Mike Sherlock licensed the patent and began developing it in 1998, and it garnered immediate interest from Lucasfilm and Hasbro, then was optioned by Mattel and Hallmark.
During this time, the marketing team kept advancing the engineering, both in collaboration with UBC and with their own company’s engineers. In 2002, additional U.S. and International patents were set into motion.
In 2006, Karen and Mike created Levitation Arts, Inc., purchased all the technology IP from the University, and first commercial manifestations of the technology were marketed under the Levitron trademark.
This Levitron technology is currently protected by two US Patents, with patents or patents pending internationally. These patents cover every known commercial manifestation of from-below electromagnetic levitation.
Watch Lorne Whitehead tell the story of how he was inspired to invent and patent from-below electromagnetic levitation.