Theo Jansen’s Inspired Strandbeast Kinetic Walking Bike ⇒ When Californian art and engineering collective Carv began developing the Strandbeest-inspired walking bike in 2014, it couldn’t have known the beast that it would create. Carv had an idea. It had a simple blueprint of a Jansen’s linkage. It had a 3D-printed model of what the device might look like, some experienced craftsmen, and a few hours to spare for a few nights each week.
Seven months and 700 man-hours later, when Carv submitted its creation to the Santa Barbara Solstice Parade, it had half of a bike with three functional legs and over 450 custom-made components. “[We] couldn’t believe the thing actually worked,” the collective wrote yesterday in a Facebook post.
Carv’s customization efforts are impressive, but its bike wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the work of Dutch artist Theo Jansen, who released his Strandbeests in 1990. The mechanical creatures are part works of art, part machines, and — according to Jansen — part lifeforms. Strandbeests (“beach beasts”) seem to be incredibly complicated, but function on a simple mechanism called a Jansen’s linkage that, when used in conjunction with other Jansen’s linkages, enabling the creatures to walk.
Featured at youtube’s the Q channel, the walking bicycle by Carv is not exactly the most practical product in the market, as it won’t take you from one place to another in record time. Instead, it will surely catch the attention of those around you as they’ve probably never seen anything like this — unless you are at Burning Man’s playa.
Like land ships with legs, Strandbeests use sails to activate their joints and walk as the wind blows. Carv’s walking bike replaced Jansen’s sail with a couple of pedals and a bike chain. As the cyclist pedals, the linkage the feet move back and forth, one before the other, like the legs of a shy spider.