Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Theo Jansen's Wind-Driven Strandbeests

One of my coworkers brought in to work today this really strange looking little plastic contraption with a propeller on it. It was a rather complicated, skeletal structure, never seen anything like it. Hit the propeller with a fan and the thing would walk across his desk. About a half dozen of us gathered around and said, That's geeky cool! It was too good to not do a post about it... (I'll try to remember to take my camera into work tomorrow and get a pic of it.) So, I asked, where do they come from, and where do I get one? He said he built it from a kit, and if I looked up "strandbeest" on YouTube I'd see the real thing in action... Here's what I found about the Strandbeests and their creator:

Theo Jansen of The Netherlands designs these awesome kinetic sculptures, these works of art that he calls "Strandbeests." In English, that is "Beach Beasts." They are entirely powered by the wind on the beach. He has been evolving their designs over a period of twenty years. Someday, he hopes to have evolved them to the point where they can roam the beaches of Holland autonomously, like living creatures.

Check out Theo's Strandbeest website. It features Strandbeest design details, videos, event dates, a webcam and more... You can even purchase and assemble your own Strandbeest from kits that he sells there. Note that the component pieces are fabricated by the Shapeways 3D printing service, a very high-tech concept in itself!
I've included a link below where you can purchase the kit that my coworker built. Also, I've included a link to Theo's book about his work, which includes a DVD.

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