Miniature Strandbeest Kit Converted to Electronic Control

Those of you that are familiar with Theo Jansen’s Strandbeest have perhaps considered building your own, but a constructing a full-sized wind walker is certainly a huge undertaking. Fortunately, if you want to get your hands on one of these devices, kits are available that let you build one at a scale more suited for indoor use. As with Jansen’s original Strandbeests, the one featured here is normally powered by wind, an elegant, if hard to control power source.

The tabletop ‘beest. (📷: ArduinoDeXXX)

If you would rather use electricity to get your tiny kit ‘beest moving, then check out this build by ArduinoDeXXX. After assembling it in the traditional way, powering it with moving air as it was originally intended, he then expanded his little ‘beest in order to fit electronics in the middle.

The control method progressed over several stages, including simply adding motors to propel it forwards, programmatic control via an Arduino board, infrared remote control, and finally a simple gesture interface. This “final” stage — further experiments can be seen at the end of the video below — uses a series of IR emitter/receivers to sense where a users hand is, and includes a visible LED to give user feedback.

If you would rather create something from scratch, you can always peruse the ClearWalker Strandbeest that I made over a several month period for inspiration. While Jansen has published the dimensions of the leg linkages, I can attest to the fact that building even a medium-sized ‘beest one isn’t an easy or inexpensive task!

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