18th Oct 2012

Strandbeests: Wind Walking Machines

Like a small god, Dutch kinetic sculptor Theo Jansen has spent the last twenty years creating wind-powered machines called “Strandbeests.” Most at home on damp stretches of beach, these stunning constructions amble across their habitat with unnervingly life-like dexterity. They are intricately built from piping, wood, and wing-like sails, and genetic algorithms are used to organise the steps of their many spindly legs. Fascinatingly, their legs are engineered so that smaller tubes are slotted within larger ones, creating “muscles” that can lengthen while walking to help the body balance. Strandbeests have evolved from rudimentary “species” to more sophisticated ones equipped to deal with their three main predators: dry sand, the sea, and storms. Jansen has given them the ability to store air pressure by capturing wind in their wings and pumping it into old lemonade bottles, so if the wind drops, the creatures can still move—perhaps to save their lives by moving clear of a rising tide. They also have primitive brains: binary step counters that tell the creature its location in its simple world of sand and dunes. Some species also have feelers that can detect both water or dry sand, which immediately kicks the strandbeest into preservation mode, making it instinctively stop and walk the opposite way. Some strandbeests can even sense when a storm is coming, and anchor themselves to the ground to survive. Eventually, Jansen hopes that herds of his breathtakingly life-like creatures can roam coastlines independent of human supervision.

Theo Jansen’s TED Talk

(Image Credit)

This post has 898 notes
  1. kitnighty reblogged this from sciencesoup
  2. wondermaki reblogged this from sciencesoup
  3. maclellansculpture reblogged this from sciencesoup
  4. eziovolvotoredafirenze reblogged this from sciencesoup
  5. swanfarts reblogged this from sciencesoup
  6. mynameisnotkelly reblogged this from sciencesoup
  7. themedicinestand reblogged this from lineaquariu
  8. catsilver reblogged this from sciencesoup
  9. spaceframestructures reblogged this from sciencesoup
  10. homesteadingsurvival reblogged this from sciencesoup
  11. tinypuffballofanger reblogged this from princeloptr
  12. chirpadee reblogged this from grausamblau
  13. thinksaysee reblogged this from themanfromnantucket
  14. themanfromnantucket reblogged this from sciencesoup and added:
    source
  15. glasshausgallery reblogged this from tea-and-tumblr and added:
    watch the TED talk link - amaaazing
  16. grimnotoriety reblogged this from sciencesoup
  17. h19hsp33d reblogged this from vedamax
  18. junesup reblogged this from rueminate
  19. rueminate reblogged this from sciencesoup
  20. aescpr reblogged this from sciencesoup
  21. alphabetsouppredictsyourdoom reblogged this from princeloptr
  22. 8-bit-jay reblogged this from shadowfire125
  23. shadowfire125 reblogged this from ourlexicalgap
  24. ourlexicalgap reblogged this from quoridor
  25. elmstislavo reblogged this from sciencesoup and added:
    More Jansen!
  26. thedesignargument reblogged this from sciencesoup
  27. sophismi reblogged this from sciencesoup
  28. dracanth reblogged this from wordsmythologic
  29. wordsmythologic reblogged this from chuckle-chuck
  30. spuddruckers reblogged this from personsuit
  31. pointlessdesireandvulgarity reblogged this from personsuit