Monday, June 27, 2011

Legality and Beach Beasts

Hey people,

It is my great pleasure to announce that my work permit was finally accepted! This means now I will get paid! Although this means I won't visit home till December it also means I can stay in Europe and travel! Unfortunately before I get paid I still need to register for a tax number (surprise surprise), seems like the government never ceases to want to get the best from you.

Apart from that today has been pretty uneventful, I hacked some power drills at work today and did a little bit of research. I also had a general meeting for the project today (through Skype) and had to convince people not to put fixed wings (instead of sails) in the boat (there is a reason why sailboats with wings are only used in the america's cup). Good progress today overall.

I don't really have much about my life to tell you guys today so I will talk about a recently found hero of mine: Theo Jansen. Let me start off with a video:

Jansen is this dutch artist that makes crazy stuff. He started off as a Physics student in TU Delft (the MIT of Holland) but dropped out to become an artist. He is most famous for his strandbeest ("beach animals"), these are kinetic sculptures he builds out of this electrical conduit tubing (sort of like thinner PVC pipes, that can be molded). His beasts are powered by the wind and walk through a very ingenious linkage system. His machines are essentially lots of these linkage systems and a crankshaft to make sure they are all timed right. He has been working with these machines since 1990, however in the last 5-8 years he has added pneumatics to his machines. He uses a "sail" and a linkage system to power a pump (which is also built of these tubes) to store air in 2 liter plastic bottles, after the bottles are at a high enough pressure he can use this "potential wind" to power the beasts forward. However the amazing-ness does not end there, using simple pneumatic concepts Jansen, "programmed" into his animals the ability to change direction of travel if they sense that they are walking on water as well as a pneumatic binary counter to count how many steps the beast have traveled (remember this is PURELY MECHANIC NO ELECTRONICS WHATSOEVER)... yep this guy is insane, he also has a book called "the great pretender" in which he describes his motivations and his years building the beach beasts. One of my coworkers has the book, and I read it a couple of weeks ago, and it was really awesome. The way he describes his motivations and way of thinking is remarkable and super hilarious at times, i definitely recommend the book to anyone!

I was so impressed by this guy, that I took a trip to Den Haag to see his workshop two weeks ago. We saw his working space, its at the top of a hill that divides the residential area and the highway. He was not there unfortunately but there was plenty to see. He has a "boneyard", essentially the remains of all the "extinct" beach creatures plus he also has a beach animal that you can push and pull to watch it walk. Here is the video:

It took us about 90 minutes walking in the middle of nowhere to get to his place but it was totally worth it!

Here is a 10 minute long video where he explains his work at TED (here he talks about the counter and the pneumatics and stuff):

I encourage you guys to look up more information about this guy if you are interested!

Au revoir!


No comments:

Post a Comment