Amazing linear propulsion systems – no toy application (yet!)

Fun & Games Science Technology
Amazing linear propulsion systems – no toy application (yet!)

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@The NYC Toy fair 2008 not everyone is a toy (or kit) maker – I met with two engineers that just showed up with their working prototype (The Z-drive) in hopes a toy maker might use it for something. It’s pretty incredible – I think these guys are getting my “MAKE’s best of show”… The worst part was watching the scammy “inventor company” people try and slime in and talk about all sorts of nonsense, but I guess that’s how it goes.

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The bullet train & cars is a linear propulsion system that moves small objects along the tracks. It can go faster than their first attempts and has greater climb mobility for the objects (little items with 3 magnets underneath).

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The Z-Drive is the third generation of linear propulsion system under development, it’s smoother at higher speeds and has the ability to climb steeper grades.

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Circular version, can be a fan.

I’m going to see if they’ll do kit versions of these, they don’t use microcontrollers, it’s all just parts. It would be a fun MAKE kit to build your own train like this.

Here’s a video, it’s fun to watch.


  • IDL Motors – Link.
  • More photos of the Z-Drive @ Flickr – Link.
  • Giant set of NYC Toy fair 2008 photos @ Flickr – Link.
  • MAKE’s coverage of the NYC Toy Faire 2008 in one place! – Link.
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