Classroom Robot Inspired by Sculptor Theo Jansen

Theo Jansen - Animaris Rhinoceros photo The artwork developed by kinetic sculptor Theo Jansen is truly inspirational. The vision behind his movable works is that someday these mechanical beasts could live on any beach in the world as if they were some sort of futuristic animal that survives on wind power. In a way, Jansen has developed an improved version of the wheel, one that can easily travel over sand. One noteworthy creature he developed is called Animaris Rhinoceros, and it looks a cross between a Star Wars AT Walker and a dinosaur. It stands over five meters (16 feet) tall and weighs 3.2 tons!

So imagine my surprise when I saw a fully functioning remote control robot that looks very close to this Theo Jansen piece. It’s eight legs and walks in a similar manner. It also has an extendable arm for grabbing items. The miniaturized version was created with various parts from many robot kits offered by Innovation First. This amazing electronics company makes hobby kits for educational use and also developed the fully functioning Theo Jansen-like robot you can see in the video below.

I was told by representatives at Innovation First that this specific robot has garnered so much interest, that they’re thinking about making a specialized kit so others can also build this specific work. Bringing robotics, engineering AND inspirational sculpture into the classroom, now there’s a forward thinking idea worth watching!

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