I stumbled across this amazing invention by Theo Jansen called the Strandbeest. (Dutch: strand=beach; beest=beast).
In 1990, he began what he is known for today: building large mechanisms out of PVC that are able to move on their own, known as Strandbeest. His animated works are a fusion of art and engineering.
Constructed as intricate assemblages of piping, wood, and wing-like sails, Jansen’s creations are constantly being improved and have become excellently adapted to their sandy beach environment. The creations sport legs, which “prove to be more efficient on sand than wheels…they don’t need to touch every inch of the ground along the way, as a wheel has to”.
The creations are also able to store air pressure and use it to drive them in the absence of wind: “Self-propelling beach animals like Animaris Percipiere have a stomach. This consists of recycled plastic bottles containing air, that can be pumped up to a high pressure by the wind.” Theo’s more sophisticated creations are able to detect once they have entered water and walk away from it, and one model will even anchor itself to the earth if it senses a storm approaching.
In a car company (BMW) television commercial Jansen says: “The walls between art and engineering exist only in our minds.” He strives to equip his creations with their own artificial intelligence so they can avoid obstacles by changing course when one is detected, such as the sea itself.
You can check out the video here:
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