Theo Jansen mechanism

3 October 2008

More on Theo Jansen… This lovely little animation shows the movement of the legs. I particularly like how the author traces the paths of each pivot point as it moves. It’s especially interesting to me that such a graceful and complex movement originates from a purely rotational orbit in the center.

Beyond the beauty of the motion, there is also the intriguing mechanism he uses to effectively store the energy of the wind. I don’t understand all the details of the setup, but essentially he uses nested electrical tubing as a pump that feeds air into a series of bottles. The bottles store the air pressure so it can be converted into kinetic energy. It’s basically a non-electrical form of battery.

I also love the casual invite he proffers on his website to his Ypenburg Laboratory. He offers directions with the coda: “At the end of the hill, on the top, you will see a green cottage. That is where you can find me.” It’s all very zenmaster-on-the-mountain and makes me want to get in my transatlantic rowboat and see what wisdom he might offer.

Theo Jansen’s kinetic sculptures

30 September 2008

My kids-and-movement furniture project has me fascinated by movement mechanisms right now. I still don’t quite understand how Theo Jansen’s creatures work, but they’re amazing.