In early 2008, Larry was spending part of his time trying to create new toys for his grandchildren when he set out to create a self-assembling toy.  He envisioned placing multiple toy parts in a box and then shaking the box until the toy parts assembled into a doll, where the toy parts would attach to each other magnetically. Larry pictured the toy parts coming into contact randomly as the box was shaken and pondered on how to configure magnets in order to make the toy parts self-assemble correctly.   To achieve this requirement, Larry considered applying to magnetics the coding theory that he had used to design RF signals used in communications and radar that have desirable correlation properties.  

Larry developed a computer program that calculated the spatial correlation properties of multi-pole magnetic structures having complementary polarity patterns, which he used to systematically search through millions of different polarity patterns in order to find polarity patterns having the best correlation properties.  After settling on two polarity patterns, Larry set out to construct two correlated magnetic structure prototypes, which each consisted of two five-by-five arrays of magnets that he meticulously attached to two substrates using tiny nuts and bolts. 

Soon afterward, on March 15, 2008, Larry presented his first ‘correlated magnetic structure’ prototypes to Mark and demonstrated how that for one rotational and translational alignment all the magnetic sources of the two structures would attract each other but for other alignments of the two structures the aligned magnetic sources substantially cancelled each other.  Because of his experience with RF signals and coding theory, Mark immediately understood the significance of Larry successfully applying coding theory to magnetism to create a three-dimensional ‘thumbtack’ autocorrelation function.   Larry and Mark then collaborated to expand on Larry’s original invention and prepare a pioneer patent application for correlated magnetics technology, which was filed on April 4, 2008. 

First correlated magnetics prototype

First correlated magnetics prototype

‘Thumbtack’ Autocorrelation Function

‘Thumbtack’ Autocorrelation Function

On June 4, 2008, CRR founded Correlated Magnetics Research® LLC (CMR) to which CRR initially licensed and then eventually assigned patent rights to the correlated magnetics technology.   CRR then raised startup operating capital for CMR in approximately 12 weeks.  As part of its startup business plan, CMR initially leveraged CRR facilities and resources as well as CRR management and technical resources to keep overhead expenses low thereby enabling capital to be spent primarily on technology development and patenting as led by Larry and Mark, respectfully. 

This low-overhead approach enabled CRR/CMR to file over sixty United States (U.S.) patents for fundamental aspects of correlated magnetics technology within the first eighteen months of the company including numerous coding approaches, applications, and manufacturing methods including a magnetizer Larry invented able to print magnetic sources into rare earth permanent magnet material, specifically NIB material.  Larry named the printed magnetic sources 'maxels' after magnetic pixels and named the printed multi-pole magnets Polymagnets®

Larry and his first magnetizer prototype

Larry and his first magnetizer prototype

1"x1"x1/8" NIB Polymagnets programmed with codes A and A' beneath magnetic viewing film.

1"x1"x1/8" NIB Polymagnets programmed with codes A and A' beneath magnetic viewing film.

For the first five years of CMR, Larry was CEO and Chief Scientist and Mark was President and COO. Mark was also responsible for intellectual property (IP) and engineering management.  In July of 2011, CRR staff that had been supporting CMR became full-time CMR employees.   In March of 2013, CMR moved non-research functions from CRR facilities in New Hope, Alabama to a CMR facility in Huntsville, Alabama.  In July 2013, CMR hired Andy Keane to be its new CEO and President after which Larry remained Chief Scientist and Mark became Chief IP Officer.  Around the same time, CMR hired Jason Morgan to be its VP of Engineering.   In 2014, CMR established a manufacturing facility in China and in early 2016, CMR consolidated company operations into a facility located in Huntsville’s Thornton Research Park.

CMR's patent portfolio currently includes over 175 patents and patents pending worldwide including over 130 issued U.S. patents for which Larry and Mark are listed as inventors.  Correlated magnetics technology has been successfully incorporated into various products including several by large consumer electronics companies under contracts that include non-disclosure agreement terms.  Correlated magnetics technology has also been successfully employed in various other application areas including aerospace and military applications. 

For more information see www.polymagnet.com or contact Mark Roberts at mark@cr-res.com.

Polymagnet® and Correlated Magnetics Research® are trademarks of Correlated Magnetics Research LLC.