We’ve added a new category to the SuperDroid Robots web site: Magnetic Guide Sensors! These are capable of detecting and reporting positions of magnetic fields along horizontal axes, and are intended for Automatic Guided Vehicle (AGV) applications. The secret? Inexpensive adhesive magnetic tape, which guides the robot from the floor.

In the clip, our new IG32 DM Mecanum Robot with RoboteQ Magnetic Sensor:

  • Stops at waypoints In addition to detecting a track to follow, the sensor will detect and report the presence of magnetic markers that may be positioned on the left or right side of the track. The sensor is equipped with four LEDs for easy monitoring and diagnostics.
  • Follows magnetic tape through a non-metallic barrier The tape creates an invisible field that is immune to dirt and unaffected by lighting conditions. The magnetic track can be totally hidden under any non-ferrous flooring material.
  • Navigates forked paths The sensor can detect and manage two-way forks, and can be instructed to follow the left or right track. It receives commands via the serial/USB ports or by way of two digital inputs. All of the sensor’s operating parameters and commands are accessible via its CAN bus interface.


Our first product in this category is the sensor itself, the MGS1600. It uses advanced signal processing to accurately measure its lateral distance from the center of a track – with resolution to the millimeter. This precision results in nearly 160 points, end-to-end. Tape position information is output in numerical format on the sensor’s RS232 or USB ports. Position information is also reported as a 0-3V voltage output, and as a variable PWM output. Additionally, the sensor supports a dedicated MultiPWM mode, allowing seamless, single-wire communication with all RoboteQ motor controllers.

The sensor incorporates a high performance, Basic-like scripting language that allows users to customize the sensor’s functions. A PC utility is provided for configuring the sensor, capturing and plotting its data (on a strip chart recorder) and for illustrating, real time, its view of the magnetic field.

The sensor’s firmware can be updated from the field as new features emerge.

The adhesive-backed magnetic tape (2.54cm x 0.1143cm x 45.72m) is meant to be used with the MGS1600 sensor. Application possibilites include:

  • Automatic Guided Vehicles
  • Automated warehouses
  • Automated shelves restocking system
  • Material conveyance robots
  • Flexible assembly lines

The tape’s magnetic, mechanical, thermal and electrical properties are available here.


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