Racing Cars On A PCB

The multi-talented Carl Friedrich Gauss was, to put it mildly, responsible for a large proportion of the things we take for granted in the modern world. As a physicist and mathematician, he pioneered many fields of study including that of magnetism. But since he died decades before the first car was built, it’s unlikely he would have imagined this creation, a magnetic slot-car racetrack called Gauss Speedway by [Jeff McBride]Which bears the name of the world famous.

The Gauss Speedway track takes inspiration from a recent development in robotics, where many small robots can move around a large area with the help of circuit tracks built into their running area. With the right current applied to these traces, magnetic fields are created that drive the robots. [Jeff] He wanted to build something similar, built right into a printed circuit board, and he came up with the idea of ​​a slot car. The tiny cars contain tiny magnets that interact with the traces in the printed circuit board, allowing the cars to move with great precision around the track. It ditches the traditional slot car controller in favor of a push-button style directly on the PCB as well, which means everything is fully integrated.

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While this was more of a demonstration or proof of concept, some features of this style of robot can be seen in this video, showing them moving at breakneck speed with high precision, on uneven surfaces, or even walls. Magnetic robots like this one are experiencing a major renaissance, and we’ve even seen some use magnetism to change shape.

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