Posted: May 9 2017, 05:02 AM
Since this is something that didn't really exist on a grand scale in the Harry Potter universe, I thought I'd give you a brief run-down on how it works on Bombarda. It's basically just an extension of the canon we already know, but progressed a bit faster so that our members can make the most of a growing field. I'll post an overview of the main details you need to know at the bottom so you can skip all the long-winded explanations if you need to, and as always, I'm happy to answer any further questions you may have.
Though wizards in general do tend to shun muggle advances in favour of independently developing their own society, the lack of technology present in the wizarding community is not solely due to this. Just as in the original Harry Potter canon, magic and electricity do not integrate well. As Hermione herself says in Goblet of Fire:
So we know that around high concentrations of magic, electronic devices do not function. It's not laziness, it's not tradition, it's not ignorance: they just literally do not function.
Here on Bombarda though (as I'm sure would also be developing in the wizarding world at this point), there are a growing group of wizarding engineers who are working to overcome this problem. This new field is known as technomagic, and involves trying to find ways to enhance current electrical devices so that they work in the presence of magic, or designing new inventions from scratch which are purposefully designed to integrate the two systems of electricity and magic together.
It's worth noting that this problem doesn't exist around very dilute forms of magic. A muggleborn wizard growing up never had problems with the microwave suddenly shutting off when they tried to use it (although it's likely any emotional magic accidentally performed may affect local electronics in a very negative way). And a wizard walking down a London street amongst masses of muggles won't suddenly be setting off car alarms with every vehicle they pass. This problem only occurs in places that have always held magic (i.e. a small wizarding cafe might not have a large number of customers at one time but magic has built up there anyway) or in areas with a large number of magical inhabitants (i.e. the schools, the Ministry, but also the houses of large wizarding families).
What is technomagic?
There are currently two main disciplines in the field of technomagic: engineers either focus on developing new inventions from scratch, or work on editing current muggle electronics to work in the presence of magic. Either way, the main difficulty is in combining the intricate details of current day technology, with the wild and somewhat sentient force of magic. It's not an easy task, and it can be dangerous when attempts literally blow up in the faces of their creators.
Those that build from scratch tend to encounter less problems, as they aren't actively fighting against electricity but simply including it where it needs to be. However, those who are working on magical enhancements often have to deal with their work reacting badly to them in some way. There are of course a million and one improvements you could do to even the simplest of muggle electronics (a kettle that pours out your perfect cup of tea for instance, or a speaker system that plays different music for every inhabitant of a room), but the more you do, the more likely you are to reach problems. Magic is a powerful and not well understood force that can often act of its own accord to the point where some consider it sentient. When your power source is almost capable of independent thought, you're always going to reach issues eventually.
A good example to consider, is the flying Ford Anglia from the Chamber of Secrets. Though it functioned mostly normally, it also had some cool added extras thanks to magic, like turning invisible and, obviously, flight. However, it also developed a certain degree of sentience at the same time, and actively ejected passengers from inside it, and ran away to 'live in the forest'. This is the sort of problem one might come across when enhancing current items. Most of the time at the moment, engineers can make them run smoothly for a little while, but they will then begin to act out. A magic powered dishwasher used to collect dirty plates itself when a meal was over, but after a few weeks it started tugging plates of food out of people's hands so it could wash them straight away.
The only truly successful feat of technomagic engineering so far, is mobile phones. Whether there was something unusually simple about this device, or whether it was just the most in demand is hard to tell, but mobile phones in the magical community run mostly the same as muggle devices do these days. They are nowhere near up to date of course - smart phones won't be functional for a long time yet, but the old 'bricks' that can call and text work perfectly fine. They have their faults of course, the most famous being the time when the 'snake' game malfunctioned and live adders started crawling out of the charging port of the mobiles, but don't worry, they've fixed that now.
Outside of this though, it's really only the simple devices that have been properly integrated so far. Your toaster will have a magical equivalent, but there's no hope for your laptop yet. Your alarm clock will do its duty, but there's no way they're putting muggle security systems into Gringotts yet. And the more advanced the technology gets, the more likely it is to malfunction, remember. So if you're brave and really love your technology, you might fancy getting a muggle TV installed in your house. Which is great, I'm sure that'll be loads of fun, but just remember to keep an eyes on it if it starts changing channel on its own...
On the other hand though, certain fields explored by from-scratch engineers have moved forwards in leaps and bounds. Robotics for instance, is an area that can really make the most out of the 'sentience' of magic, as that sort of self-awareness can be used very successfully in creating semi-intelligent creatures. And in areas like this, where the two forces work so well in sync together, the possibilities are seemingly endless for what could be made in the future!
Technomagic at Beauxbatons
See Puggles' excellent course synopsis here.
Any further questions, just ask!
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