hey so i made a sort of memory system using pistons. You send a current through a block and are able to move that block around using the pistons. depending on what type of block (clear/opaque) you get a different on/off state.
The Meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything.
I used to use one of these a very, very long time ago to control a real-time clock-tower I built. A friend told me it's a Binary Memory Cell and they can be handy but it looks like yours has a lot of 'extra' redstone to it that really increases the footprint. You should try making a smaller one now that you know how it works. I think you'll find it's easier/smaller if your turn your 'gear' or 'tape' sideways instead of having it up and down too.