the idea is simple: winding a wire back and forth, leaving a small space for separation. due to the "right hand rule" the current on both sides of this separation gap will cause a magnetic field in the same direction in that gap, thus pulling / pushing the ferrofluid up and making a really cool effect.
unfortunately, it didnt work. the wire is wrapped around five times - this produces a magnetic field 10 times (by nature of the two wires' doubling effect) the strength of a single wire. the wire drew a current of over 1 Amp but produced absolutely no effect on the fluid. of course, in theory, with enough winds of wire and enough power, there will be some effect. but the fact that there is no visible effect at all right now dramatically hampers the hope that a cool effect isn't far off.
the experiment is just another bust in a long line of failures.
we do, however, have a couple things working to a small scale. we can drip ferrofluid onto cool shaped permanent magnets to produce interesting effects, as well as activate an array of tiny fluid bumps/ spirals to simulate a pixel board.
it's something, but overall it's discouraging.