The Action Lab recently demonstrated how to create logic gates using chains and gears, presenting an intriguing mechanical analogy for electrical current. The demonstration relies on a commercial toy called Spintronics, which features gears and chains to simulate the behavior of logic gates. While the toy was used in the video, the concept could be adapted for DIY setups using 3D printing or gears.
In this mechanical representation, a spring-wound motor serves as a “battery,” and gears function as resistors and junctions that distribute “current” in different directions. The visual representation of series and parallel resistance using moving chains can provide an entertaining and intuitive way for beginners to grasp these concepts.
Additionally, a spring acts as a voltmeter, serving as an indicator of the system’s state. Switched gears act as inputs, allowing for the creation of basic logic gates such as inverters, NAND gates, and NOR gates. While constructing a complete chained system for more complex gates may become unwieldy, the theoretical possibility of doing so is an interesting exploration of the mechanical analogy for logic circuits.
Read more: Computer Logic Spins with No Electricity