Drawing Machines: Strandbeest

The Strandbeest was created by Theo Jansen to be an evolutionary creation of humans. These self sufficient simple machines are able to go on their own theoretically forever provided the right conditions. The way the machine is reliant on the elements for power and movement actually reminds me of the mars rovers. They rely on the wind and dust storms to remove debris from their solar panels in order to regain their ability to move and recently one was stranded for a while. The scientists tried many things to revive the robot but in the end all that was needed was a little more patience for the nature of this alien planet to run its course and revive Curiosity. The strandbeest does not need any human to survive. It only needs nature. Jansens main form of energy transfer into the machine is a sail that catches wind on the beach and propels the machine into motion. For my strandbeest I will use the same idea but on a smaller scale. My beest will have a small sail and will stand in front of a fan that will blow it down a table. The drawing aspect of the machine will come in the strandbeests footsteps. I want the strandbeest to be as lifelike as possible so in the ways of an animal it should leave a unique set of footprints behind it


So far the Strandbeest consists of six feet and a main body. The feet are triangles of cardboard and folded paper of the specific ratios of the linkage that the Strandbeest is made from. This ratio Jansen claims to be a reinvention of the wheel as it has many capabilities for motions and movement that may even surpass its circular counterpart. The Strandbeest has also been replicated many times. It’s engineering genius and capability as a transportation has the attention of many disciplines. The main body is held through cardboard squares, skewers and edge pieces to hold the wire and feet together. This should give it the stability it needs to walk on its own.

I would like to be able to make a larger scale version of this with humans as the driving force. I think it would be telling to see how people interact with a machine they can move around and control but maybe not understand the complicated mechanism working together to create that movement. Also to see how different the linkage is from a wheel as a mode of transportation and movement. What would the differences between a wind powered and human powered beest be? What patterns would the footprints make? I would be interested to see the difference between the creative processes of the two methods.

Author: El Ryan