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Sep. 13, 2011 at 2:59pm Strandbeests: Beach creatures

I think that, out of all the different types of patrons we get at the library, teens tend to be the most environmentally-conscious.  I'm not saying that every teen we get is responsible with their recycling - I know I've spent my fair share of time picking up plastic bottles after the school crowd has left the library.  But I think that, on the whole, they tend to be more aware of the different options out there for reducing waste and reusing items.  They also have an eye for repurposing items.  And so I thought it would be fun to share this video about about Theo Jansen's Strandbeest.


Strandbeest translates to beach creatures, and that's just what Dutch artist Theo Jansen creates.  He builds them out of plastic bottles, wood, plastic pipes, bicycles pumps, and sails.  A combination of art and engineering, they roam the beaches and are self-propelled, with the ability to detect obstacles, including water. 


Jansen has been building his beach creatures since the 1990s, and as time goes on, the Strandbeest have become more sophisticated.  I think it's amazing that these skeletons can be made up of such basic pieces but move and react to their surroundings!  I know I have never walked so gracefully on a beach - I'm usually the one falling over myself, getting tangled in some seaweed, and then soaked a little by sneaky waves.

So now that you've seen the Strandbeest, do you want to make your own?  Don't worry, if you're still lacking that engineering degree (and what is it with you and not having your engineering degree?  Get on the ball!), you have a few options.  You can purchase a kit from Jansen's website - certainly puts those model planes to shame, huh?  Or you can try your hand at it with using K'nex - Instructables has directions for you to get started.

Kind of takes recycling to a whole new level, huh?

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