And now for something completely different. . .


Would you believe a bicycle that walks?

Theo Jansen [previously] is a Dutch physicist-turned-artist, a creative mind who has fabricated kinetic sculptures, including a remarkable assemblage he calls the Strandbeest.

Here’s one example, a wind-powered version from his Strandbeest Workshop:


Amazing, no?

But what other possibilities exist for Jansen’s remarkable idea?

Well, Blaine Elliott and a group of creative friends in Santa Barbara, California, picked up the basic concept and applied it to the bicycle.

From Blaine’s Blog:

In late 2014, two friends and I decided to begin building a bike based on the Strandbeest. The Strandbest is a walking machine created by Theo Jansen in the 1980s. Imagine this machine below, scaled down to the size of a bike, where the back wheels of a bike are replaced with legs. That is more or less what we set out to do. The process involved 3 people, took 6 months and 1000 man hours to complete.

As complicated as this machine may appear to be, it can be simple when broken down. The Strandbeest is a series of Jansen’s linkage’s. Each Jansen Linkage imitates the motion of a leg. A leg by itself is trivial but when they function together, you get something much more complicated.

Our idea was to leverage the concept of the Jansen Linkage to construct a bicycle that has rear legs instead of a rear wheel. In this blog I’m going to review the various work that was involved in order to make that idea a reality. By this point, most of the bike is done. There’s some painting and fine tuning to do. I’m pleasantly surprised with the results. We had a lot of confidence this bike would work and it wasn’t until maybe 70% through the project we we really able to unit test it.

And here’s the result, from his vlog:

Riding the Strandbeest Bike


And that, dear reader, is something completely different. . .

Oh, and if you’re visiting Northern California this summer and interested in seeing more of Jansen’s creations and learning more about the artist, the Exploratorium is currently featuring through 5 September an exhibition, Strandbeest: The Dream Machines of Theo Jansen.

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