7 Pieces Of Harry Potter Magic That Exist In Real Life

In the fictional world of Harry Potter, this Sunday would mark Harry's 36th birthday. While we would love to celebrate the occasion with some enchanted fireworks from Weasley's Wizard Wheezes (or anything else from Harry's magical world), we're stuck with the boring-old real world.

Or are we?

While we may not carry magic wands made of phoenix feathers or dragon heartstrings, we do have a lot of tech that's pretty darn close to the "magic" in Harry Potter. Some of it is right here, already in the palms of our hands, while other technologies exist only in research labs, at the moment.

Either way, there's a lot of Harry Potter tech that you can experience today. Here are our favorites.

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GIF: Teen.com.
Magic Wand
A wizard never leaves home without a wand. It is always at her side, at the ready, in case it's needed to ward off Death Eaters or summon up a soothing cup of tea.
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Photo: Courtesy Apple.
Naturally, your phone is the equivalent of a magic wand in reality. Think about it: you can use it to summon an Uber at a moment's notice; like sending a Patronus, you can use it to send important messages to friends and loved ones; and if you ever went anywhere without it, you would feel like you were missing a part of yourself.

If you want it to feel more like a wand, you can always wrap it in this case.
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GIF: Giphy.com.
The Sorting Hat
In J.K. Rowling's fictional universe, the Sorting Hat sits atop new students' heads and decides which Hogwarts house they best belong in: Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, Slytherin, or Gryffindor.
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Photo: Courtesy YouTube.
Alright, while it may not look like much, someone did make an actual, talking Sorting Hat in real life. Cool dad Ryan Johnson made it for his two daughters. Describe yourself to the hat, and then it uses IBM Watson's Natural Language Classifier and speech-to-text features to understand what you said and what those words mean. It then decides, based on an internal library of keywords representing each Hogwarts house, which one you'd best belong in.
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Photo: Tumblr.
The Marauder's Map
"I solemnly swear I'm up to no good." This enchanted map reveals the location of everyone in and around Hogwarts.
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Photo: Courtesy Apple.
Location-based apps such as Find My Friends can pinpoint your (iOS-using) friends, wherever they may be — as long as they've got their location-sharing switched on. Other iOS and Android apps such as MeetMe go one step further, using your location to help find people around you who are also looking to hang out (or hook up). That's the adult version of the Marauder's Map.
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GIF: Tumblr.
Moving Images
The wizarding newspaper The Daily Prophet is perhaps most notable (to us muggles, at least) for its video-like photographs. In magical paintings and photos, the image's inhabitants don't just sit there, frozen in time — they move around, wave, and even disappear for short spells.
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Photo: Courtesy Facebook.
Today, we've got a variety of ways images can come to life. For iPhone users, there's Live Photos, which capture a short, GIF-like video every time you snap your phone's camera shutter. And then there's Prynt, which combines the immediacy of a Polaroid with an app. When you use the app to scan over a photo you've printed with the Prynt case, the image comes to life — the app captures a short video around when you snapped the photo, too.
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GIF: Giphy.com.
Invisibility Cloaks
True invisibility cloaks are a rarity in the Harry Potter world, but Potter inherited one early on at Hogwarts. Harry's cloak completely disguises him, so he appears one with his surroundings — unless he leaves his disembodied head poking out the top.
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Photo: Courtesy University of Rochester/YouTube.
Researchers at the University of Rochester made the idea of an invisibility cloak a reality. Using some lens trickery, they created the first device that can do three-dimensional, continuous cloaking. Scientists at UC Berkeley have created an even more cloak-like invisibility method — an 80-nanometer-thick microscopic cloak that conforms to the shape of the object it's placed on. It reroutes light waves so the object appears invisible to the human eye. In theory, this tech could be scaled larger in the future.
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GIF: Giphy.com.
Automatic Stirring
Hermione may have had to slave away in Potions class, but Mrs. Weasley deftly magicked pots and spoons to cook on the stove while she took care of other household business. Menial chores such as stirring aren't befitting a witch (although such manual labor could make a good punishment for her kiddos).
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Photo: Courtesy Amazon.
If you don't mind ponying up some extra dough for this Japanese creation, you, too, could never have to stir a pot again. Once water starts boiling, the insert inside the Kurukurunabe Self-Stirring Pot starts stirring like a tiny cyclone. Reviewers say it works well for soups.
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GIF: Giphy.com.
Professor Dumbledore's pensieve is a piece of magic we could definitely use in our daily lives. When it feels like there is just too much information floating your brain, you can use your wand to pluck out a memory, place it in the pensieve, and see it more clearly.
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Photo: Courtesy IBM/YouTube.
IBM started working on pensieve-like technology back in 2008. Calling it a "personal assistant for your memory," its human memory aid would use your phone to capture information, make connections between related data, and then surface that info to you when you need it next. This could work for remembering a product you need to buy at the store, or for surfacing information about someone you've met before when you encounter that person again. That idea has been incorporated into numerous apps — that let you save information and then be reminded about it when you reach a certain location, for example.
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