CleanTechnica is the #1 cleantech-focused
website
 in the world. Subscribe today!


Wind Energy Strandbeest7

Published on August 10th, 2008 | by Michelle Bennett

7

The Strandbeests Cometh

Share on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookPin on PinterestDigg thisShare on TumblrBuffer this pageEmail this to someone

August 10th, 2008 by
 
Strandbeest7

I came across these critters on Inhabitat and couldn’t resist. You can power homes, towns, and ships, and maybe planes with wind, but what about an organism?

Artist-engineer Theo Jansen has set out to design new life on the beaches of the Netherlands. Through his work, he hopes to uncover some of the lessons that nature learned on the path to complex organisms.

Though I wouldn’t go so far as to categorize these sculptures as “artificial life“, they are certainly amazing works of art and biomimicry. Different designs are given specific problems to overcome, like moving across the sand, staying out of the surf, or anchoring down before a storm. The most efficient and successful “generations” pass their secrets onto the next creation, and the least successful are scrapped.

Jansen uses genetic algorithms in his designs, and upgrades each new “generation” by hand. All of his sculptures are wind-powered, and built from lightweight plastic pipes. He uses plastic tubing for the pneumatic systems that “power” the Strandbeests.

They even have “brains” capable of the most basic processes. For example, one Strandbeest sucks air through some tubing. If water from the surf or a tide pool obstructs the tube, the mechanism reverses to move in the opposite direction. His most recent creations even stored excess wind energy in lemonade bottles for calmer days… or rather minutes. That “generation” doesn’t get much mileage on a single tank of air.

Mr. Jansen hopes to release a “herd” of his creations to the wilds of his native Dutch beaches within a few years. Hopefully they’ll be able to survive off the wind without any assistance. Whether they succeed or not, these sculptures represent to me the lengths to which “high tech” ingenuity can go without circuit boards or micro processors (though these are also valuable).

Perhaps the most utilitarian aspect is the design that allows them to walk over the sand. Mr. Jansen claims he has essentially “reinvented the wheel”, and I’m not sure that he’s wrong. What are your thoughts?

One of the Strandbeasts is designed to carry and transport relatively heavy loads. Here’s a nifty video.

Images via Inhabitat

Related Posts

Dutch Pavement Cleans Air

Kite-based wind power

Rooftop wind turbines don’t pay off

Top 5 Micro Wind Turbines

Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.

Print Friendly

Share on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookPin on PinterestDigg thisShare on TumblrBuffer this pageEmail this to someone

Tags: , , ,


About the Author

is an environmentalist who loves to write. She grew up across the southeastern USA and especially love the Appalachian mountains. She went to school in the northeast USA in part to witness different mindsets and lifestyles than those of my southern stomping grounds. She majored in English Lit. and Anthropology. She has worked as a whitewater rafting guide, which introduced her to a wilderness and the complex issues at play in the places where relatively few people go. She also taught English in South Korea for a year, which taught her to take nothing for granted.



  • http://reykr.livejournal.com/ Jerry Baker

    I’m not a Master Gardener, and I don’t have any lawn or garden products to sell. However, I’m interested in renewable energy sources.

    Jerry Baker

  • http://reykr.livejournal.com/ Jerry Baker

    I’m not a Master Gardener, and I don’t have any lawn or garden products to sell. However, I’m interested in renewable energy sources.

    Jerry Baker

  • bigwinner

    This is really creative. Apparently there’s also a book and DVD that discuss Jansen’s work.

  • bigwinner

    This is really creative. Apparently there’s also a book and DVD that discuss Jansen’s work.

  • bigwinner

    This is really creative. Apparently there’s also a book and DVD that discuss Jansen’s work.

  • green blog

    Looks like a very innovative and creative idea to me. Harnessing the power of algorithms in design, I think this can be applied into our daily life especially machines, automobiles in order to achieve the aerodynamics and energy saving effort.

  • green blog

    Looks like a very innovative and creative idea to me. Harnessing the power of algorithms in design, I think this can be applied into our daily life especially machines, automobiles in order to achieve the aerodynamics and energy saving effort.

Back to Top ↑