Theo Jansen: like the professor from Gilligan

[Theo Jansen] is building lifeforms that will live and thrive on the beach. He calls them StrandBeest and uses PVC electrical conduit, plastic tubing, and lemonade bottles as building material. The many-legged creations are amazingly advanced, able to count steps, sense and flee from the water’s edge, and protect themselves from high wind. He gave a TED talk back in 2007 that we’ve embedded after the break; it’s uncanny. See examples of his creations using fans and sails to store wind energy as compressed air in the lemonade bottles, then use that pressure for locomotion. He also demonstrates a binary step counter and water sensor.

[Thanks Eric]


  1. Icarus says:

    one thing he didn’t put thought:

    Wouldn’t it be easy to put some sort of tubes with a bottle on the other end and when it blows you can hear “KIiiiillLLL MEEE PLEEAAASE!”

  2. Hilary says:

    A jaw dropper. Has anyone told NASA? Or any other body wanting long lasting, self propelled vehicles for exploration or sustained and remote/unmanned investigation?

  3. Emily says:

    Don’t you all realize that you’re infact engaging in philosophical discourse throughout your entire discussion?! Well, maybe at least an attempt at, but your entire conversation has roots in philosophy. What a bunch of idiots.

  4. jimbob says:

    where is the information on the pneumatic engines’ (lemonade bottles) construction? how does he do that?

  5. Billy bob says:

    Actually these machines are close to being able to be classified as animals. An animal is something made of an organic material that can move, has a brain system, and can reproduce. He’s pretty close.

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