June 8, 2011

Art that is Powered by the Earth II: Reinventing the Wheel


Theo Jansen (pronounced "Tay-o Yahn-sen") has re-invented the wheel: he calls it "the beast."  It is a tool, a pet, a machine, and a simple computer made from things like electrical conduit, cardboard recycled plastic, and string.

No electricity.  No batteries.  No solar panels.

The mechanics are a must-see, but the magic is not just in the engineering.  Powered by natural energy sources like wind and sun, the beast can store extra energy in recycled drink bottles.

The beast has no brain, but it makes decisions.  It has no spirit, yet it has a survival instinct.

It reacts to weather.  It walks, stops, and moves in reverse.

It knows when to defend itself, and how.

An eight-minute video of Theo Jansen giving a TED talk

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