Wednesday, 14 September 2016

William Gilbert, Electricity and Magnets with Circuit Scribe

OK, I admit it, I only know about William Gilbert and his role in understanding electricity and magnetism because I needed to find a scientist who wore a top hat.

You see we've been having fun with a Circuit Scribe magnetic electronics kit and had created a circuit for Nikola Tesla which is activated by adding his moustache. My 8 year old has a set of gentlemen's accessory magnets which also include a top hat. We wanted to create a similar project that could be activated with a top hat.

Well it turns out that William Gilbert is just the person we needed. Gilbert was an astronomer who was born in 1544. His work was wide-ranging and covered magnetism and static electricity - known as the amber effect because fabric clings to amber.

Gilbert came up with the term electricus from the Latin for amber which lead to the modern word electricity.

We decided to give Gilbert some amber jewellery by combining the red and green inputs to a Circuit Scribe RGB LED. The circuit is activated by adding William Gilbert's top hat to complete the circuit.

Here's the circuit you'll need to draw with an electronic ink pen to make this project. Use the Circuit Scribe stencil to get the spacing correct. Circuit Scribe recommend using photo paper for the best results, we didn't have any to hand so used ordinary printer paper which works but requires more ink.

You'll need a steel board to mount the project on, a small one is included in the kits or you can use a metal notice board or fridge.

If you don't have a top hat magnet then you can make one using printable magnetic sheet or by adapting a magnet you have around (we seem to have lots of promotional ones that we've collected.)

This project is part of a series of interactive projects featuring tech innovators and the Circuit Scribe range of electronics kits. Subscribe or follow us to be notified of future projects.

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