FOUR POINTS: Magicians want cutting edge tech NOW (it’s close)

March 30th, 2013 | Joe Hadsall | Filed Under Four Points, General

Magicians love technology, and it’s even better when we get a hold of new tech before the rest of the public, a la Glen David Gold’s “Carter Beats the Devil” or Christopher Priest’s “The Prestige” (yes, the movie was adapted from the book). And we’ve all seen what Marco Tempest does with things on the cutting edge.

That got us thinking about what tech magicians would like to see. We asked you to think big, and you thought even bigger. Your responses on Facebook and Twitter fell into four general categories. We dived deep and picked the best ideas, then searched the Internet to find out how close that tech is to actually existing.

Smart paper

Some of our favorite ideas involved things on paper that could change, whether it was moving inks or really thin touchscreens.

  • ~ Doug Hunnington: See through paper with special polarized glasses!
  • ~ Zach Werden: A playing card that is actually a super thin touchscreen monitor. The possibilities for gaffs and color changes would be infinite!
  • ~ Cedrick Burcena: I wish I could invent a “touchscreen card” with the same thickness, flexibility and feel as a regular playing card. The screen will also have sort of easily replaceable screen protectors.
  • ~ Kirkland Agaskadodv Butcher: Having playing cards that reflect other playing cards for a short amount of time with heat and pressure. They have a special ink and paper that reflects and captures the image of another playing card underneath it so you can have this playing card the wrong way around on the bottom of the deck and have it reflect that playing card.
  • ~ Ernests Stroinovs: A computer in the size of the card. Same thickness, same flexibility. With a hidden mic and face side being screen. At first, it shows back pattern of a card, but when a spec names a card, it records it and the image of card named instantly appears instead of back pattern.

Almost here? This paper tablet computer was all the rage at the most recent CES show. About the size of a regular sheet of printer paper, the PaperTab is built mainly to work with other similar devices.


One of the 10 theories of magic, performers have developed plenty of ways to levitate things, from rings to themselves. But you thought bigger than that. And smaller.

  • ~ Alustaazu Bitun Gina DhonAhmed: float a water drop
  • ~ Kieran Porter: Dam the top of a waterfall and wait for the water to stop flowing over the edge and then reverse the flow of the waterfall so the river at the bottom is sending the water back to the top.
  • ~ Craig Farquharson: Something to suspend a table cloth and it’s contents so when I yank the table out from under it everything stays. I would lead everyone into thinking its a normal tablecloth trick when it is in fact a reverse table cloth trick
  • ~ Robbie Yeadon: levitation of a chosen object in a room!

Almost here? Sadly, our searches for floating water didn’t pan out. But we were mesmerized by what Brussup does to water under the influence of sine waves.

Energy production

From fire to electricity, many of you wish you had the power of the elements at your command (the powerful ones, anyway — no one wanted to shoot dirt or water out of their fingertips).

  • ~ Michael Mayo: Lightning from my fingertips Raiden style….hands down
  • ~ Lazare Londaridze: Pure fire from nothing
  • ~ Tom Vella-Lott: Liquid that ignites with friction and burns similarly to lighter fluid, but doesn’t dissipate so quickly, so a ‘light your cigarette with my finger’ type effect.
  • ~ Pete Esquivel Jr: I would love to write in mid air with fire
  • ~ Wolfgang Schürz: How would really cold fire work? Perhaps: Invisible with a burning ring might even look like producing fireballs in your hand.

Almost here? We’re not exactly sure, because all we can find are homemade projects and circus acts. A man shooting electricity out of his hands was featured on the TV show “Maximum Exposure.” And this guy in 2009 posted a video of his wrist-mounted flamethrower, and adds some fire to his hadouken. If you’re looking to produce smoke, then let us introduce you to the best smoke system on the market.

Data mining

Plugging into the machine has a lot of magic potential. Several wanted the ability to access the internet in better, more subterfugal ways.

  • ~ Sean Mccarthy: I wish i had the ability to instantly post information gathered during a performance to youtube whilst still performing for the same group. Its one thing to have a prediction on a piece of paper in front of you, but if the spectator could see information that was very personal to that performance on youtube it would be amazing, not to mention they could then show the video to their friends later as a great reminder of the effect.
  • ~ Philip Alexander: Some type of radio which could find the phone number of the person I’m performing to. I would force a card and then tell them to think of their card. I would then trigger the radio and they would get a text message saying what they’re card is.

Almost here? We fully expect our brains to be WiFi capable in a few decades. Until then, Google Glass appears to be the next step in internet devices.

FOUR POINTS is a regular feature that celebrates magicians’ favorite number by highlighting four critical bits of importance, awesomeness or otherwise. Send your suggestions to


  1. Philip Alexander’s idea seems very illegal and immoral…

  2. Data mining is real and is coming to the school systems. It Common Core. hide and watch.