Can you ride on those square wheels?

About two weeks ago, we posted a video on our “Science It” Facebook page inviting our Facebook friends to identify the object which was posted. Over the weekend, we revealed what the object is, and invited guesses on what the object demonstrates. Have you figured it out?

Well, as mentioned in our post over the weekend, the object in the video is actually the “Riding on Square Wheels” exhibit located at the Mathematics: Everywhere & Everyday exhibition, Science Centre Singapore.

Look at the video again and observe the rolling action of the square wheels against the tracks. What did you observe?

The tracks are shaped as upside-down catenaries of a specific perimeter (size and curvature) to match the sides of the square. The vehicle “rolls” smoothly (without bobbing up and down) as the straight edges of the square wheels remain in full contact without slipping on these inverted catenaries. This can also be applied elsewhere such as in robotics or machines. Where do you think this can be applied?

Like the “Riding on Square Wheels” exhibit, there are many interesting exhibits in the Mathematics exhibition. Many of you will probably remember some of the exhibits from young.  However, the Mathematics exhibition will now be phased out by 14 July (Monday) in preparation of an upcoming exciting exhibition. If you like the Mathematics exhibition, do come by and take a look at it again before it closes down.

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