R2K

 
Great wind robots
Friday, February 01, 2008


"For the past fifteen years, Theo Jansen has been creating (growing?) "beach animals" made from commonly available tools like plastic tubing, cardboard boxes, plastic bottles, hose, tape, and all sorts of other stuff. Wired News did a pretty good article on Jansen earlier this year:- http://blog.wired.com/sterling/2005/1...

Jansen is evolving an entirely new line of animals: immense multi-legged walking critters designed to roam the Dutch coastline, feeding on gusts of wind. Over the years, successive generations of his creatures have evolved into increasingly complex animals that walk by flapping wings in response to the wind, discerning obstacles in their path through feelers and even hammering themselves into the sand on sensing an approaching storm.

It's hard to know where to begin in talking about what's so cool about Jansen's beach animals. They're evolved for one thing; he worked out the optimal 11-piece leg using evolutionary algorithms on a computer but now prefers to race his animals on the beach and "breed" the most successful ones together, taking the best bits from each to make their offspring better. His animals have legs, muscles (pneumatic pistons within the plastic tubing), stomachs (plastic bottles for storing air), and nerves (collections of on/off values that work pretty much like logic gates)."
posted by High Power Rocketry @ Friday, February 01, 2008  
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