Nano Magnetics is launching a magnetic connector that will add a new type of connection to appliances and electronic devices.
The Vaughan-based magnetic-toy company made the announcement at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show today.
The Canadian company, which went through the York Region’s ventureLAB system, calls its new product the Nanoport.
Enabled devices can be combined as a single larger device, letting users tile screens to create impromptu folding tablets, stack extensions like batteries, speakers or cameras, or even used to assemble combinations of custom gadgetry.The Nanoport’s magnetic features can hold and align devices to each other allowing data and power transfer like USB, but without the need of cables. This makes it possible to use a mobile device as a secure authenticator and graphical interface for enabled appliances, vehicles and more.
“The Nanoport is the culmination of our last three years of magnet constructor R&D. It effectively turns electronics into building blocks that can be combined to create new devices, then later collapsed for transport,” says Tim Szeto, CEO and Founder. “Nanoport gives hardware and software developers new methods of device engagement. Traditional connectivity technology allows software to work together. Now hardware can enjoy such a cooperation too.”
Nano Magnetics was founded in 2009, but ran into difficulties in Canada over its Nanodots product. Health Canada has strict rules on “magnet sets,” which can be swallowed.
“It’s unfortunate to see the federal government taking this kind of stance,” Szeto told Techvibes late last year. “The industry started off with young entrepreneurs interested in tactile magnets that can do really cool things,” including building puzzles, sculptures or patterns.
Nano Magnetics was subjected to a mandatory recall. The startup’s flagship product line was forced out of the Canadian market last September.
In a statement about the recall, Health Canada notes that novelty magnet sets “contain small powerful magnets which can be easily swallowed or inhaled by children. Unlike other small objects that would be more likely to pass normally through the digestive system if swallowed, when more than one small powerful magnet is swallowed, the magnets can attract one another while travelling through the digestive system.”
However, Nano Magnetics adds that, “instead of working with the entrepreneurs that comprise this emerging industry, [the government] opted to impose the first-ever national prohibition against small magnets.”
He adds that prior to the Nanodots being recalled, the company sold more than 100,000 of them across Canada in retailers such as FutureShop and Best Buy, and had no specific safety complaints.
Part of the Greater Toronto Area, York Region and its local municipalities including Markham, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Newmarket, are home to 3,900 Information & Communications Technology (ICT) companies, making it Canada’s highest ICT industry concentration and the leading Enterprise Solutions technology cluster.
With files from Samuel Dunsiger.