Wind-Powered Animal Sculptures

The Maman sculpture inspired some American Mountain Dew drinkers to share their motorized spider vehicle with us. Well our Belgian friend, LonelyFatGuy, has answered in typically understated Flemish fashion and politely pointed us towards Theo Jansen, a remarkable Dutch artist who creates incredible mobile, wind-powered, animal-inspired sculptures. The first video gives you a taste of Jansen's work (remember this is wind power) but we definitely suggest sitting through the much longer second video...

Second video below the fold...

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Thanks to Coilhouse, I just learned that artist Theo Jansen is producing 3D printed baby versions of his amazing strandbeests - wind-powered kinetic sculptures that "walk" on their own. If you don't remember Jansen, here he is with his eerie, lifelike beests, which he calls "new forms of life…
"The walls between art and engineering exist only in our minds," says artist Theo Jansen. For over 14 years, Jansen has been engaged in the production of animari, or beach animals—massive kinetic sculptures constructed of light materials. After a firm push to begin, the wind takes over, and the…
HT to href="http://markmaynard.com/index.php/2007/06/06/theo_jansen">Mr. Maynard for pointing this out.  (He also pointed out the CornerBrewery, which is an even more remarkable invention.) The creator is rel="tag">Theo Jansen: face="Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif">Theo Jansen, artist…
Famed artist, Louise Bourgeois, clearly had an interesting relationship with her mother. Her new installation at the Tate Modern, Maman (1999) is a giant 30ft sculpture made of bronze, steel and marble and was intended as an "ode to my mother" according to Bourgeois. Inside of the spider's immense…

they're cute and all, but can they preemptively invade a country?

By neuralstatic (not verified) on 15 Oct 2007 #permalink

This seems like the perfect sort of arrangement for extraplanetary rovers like the ones we sent to Mars, and his explanation of the locomotion system in comparison to the wheel is really interesting. It does seem to take less energy to traverse a sandy or rocky surface than a wheeled or caterpillar-treaded vehicle like the Mars rover would have. I mean, they are wind-powered, and not by very big wind-blades either, so it must be the case that not a lot of torque is necessary to move the legs. And it seems suitably lightweight for a rocket payload. The only question would be whether they could be compacted into a container for transport and unfolded on touchdown?