This shelf can suspend 150 keys in midair by what looks like magic

With the handmade Rackless shelf, you might never plop your keys down on the coffee table again.

Michael Franco
Freelancer Michael Franco writes about the serious and silly sides of science and technology for CNET and other pixel and paper pubs. He's kept his fingers on the keyboard while owning a B&B in Amish country, managing an eco-resort in the Caribbean, sweating in Singapore, and rehydrating (with beer, of course) in Prague. E-mail Michael.
Michael Franco
2 min read

Sure it looks like magic, but it's really just magnets. Well Made

We write about a lot of projects that launch by seeking crowdfunding. Often, those projects incorporate a crazy amount of technology like a robotic handheld printer or a printer that creates fabric from liquid. But sometimes an invention comes along that's super simple and still grabs our attention right away.

That's the case with Well Made's Rackless, a shelf on Kickstarter that uses a decidedly low-tech solution -- magnets -- to create a sleek and useful piece of home decor.

Rackless is a shelf made from American-sourced walnut or oak wood. It comes in three lengths: 8, 10 and 12 inches (20, 25 and 30 centimeters). In each version, a series of super-strong neodymium rare-earth magnets are embedded along the bottom of the shelf. So when you get home, you can simply tap your keys beneath the shelf and there they'll float.

In the 8- and 10-inch models, the magnets are visible, while in the longest shelf, they're hidden in the wood. Also, as the length of the shelves increases, the magnets get stronger and stronger. In the longest shelf, the magnets are actually strong enough to potentially mess with electronics, so the makers inserted a steel core inside the wood to shield your smartphone and other gadgets from the magnetic force.

Installation looks easy. You use two screws to mount a bracket on the wall, then slide the shelf over it, which locks into place thanks to a few more hidden magnets. The makers say the shelf's slight upward tilt of seven degrees will allow it to safely hold 5 pounds (about 2.2 kilograms) or more.

Early-bird rewards are gone, but you can still grab Rackless shelves at pretty decent prices, especially considering that each piece is handmade. The 8-inch version is going for $25 (about £16, AU$32), the 10-inch for $45 (about £29, AU$58) and the 12-inch for $65 (about £42 or AU$84). There are less than 24 hours left in the campaign, though, so if you want one at the Kickstarter prices, now's the time to jump in. Otherwise you'll be able to get the shelves on the Well Made website afterward, starting at $30.

Well Made is the same company that ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for their unique poster-hanging hardware Stiicks, back in 2013. So your funding dollars would seem to be in very good hands if you decide to pledge. A nice benefit to your pledge is that you can expect to receive your Rackless shelf in July -- an extremely short lead time for a Kickstarter campaign.