Theo Jansen and the Strandbeests

       Theo Jansen was born March 14, 1948 in the Netherlands. In 1979 Jansen used his passion for physics and art and created a UFO out of PVC pipes filled with helium. His creation that caused a near-riot, was a prank that combined art and technology. Between 1984-1986, Jansen created a painting machine that was slightly more advanced than his UFO. The machine was made out of a tube with a light cell at the end. When the light cell detected darkness, the machine would paint the silhouette of an object up to two feet away from it. Theo Jansen is most known for his wind-walking animals called Strandbeests. Strandbeests were made entirely of PVC pipes and roam the windy beaches of Scheveningen, Netherlands. When a gust of wind enters the pipes, the “legs” of the animal lift and move forward. If a day is very windy, wind can be stored into the animal’s “bladder” so that if there is no wind one day, the animal will be able to move the same way with the stored wind. The more advanced creations, are able to tell if the are in water and walk away from it, others can detect if a storm is approaching and anchor itself into the ground so it will not blow away. Theo Jansen’s plan for his creations is to design them to be able to live on their own on the beaches of the Netherlands. To see his creations in action, click here.

 

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