Sunday, March 23, 2008

Week TechVideo, 2008 #12 - Theo Jansen (Kinetic Sculptor) creations, made with LEGO

Too much in the sense of previous post...

A lot about Kinetic Sculptures, based on the developments from Theo Jansen, and LEGO TECHNIC implementations of his models.
Theo Jansen is a Dutch artist born in 1948 and a Kinetic Sculptor. He builds large works which resemble skeletons of animals and are able to walk using the wind, on the beaches of the Netherlands. His animated works (almost hypnotic to watch) are a fusion of art and engineering.
Read the interview with the artist who believes these "animals" may live in the beaches after is dead.
Also someone referred to him as "A Modern-Day Da Vinci Genius", and so the relation suggested on this post's first line. ;)

Essentially these sculptures are like robots powered by the wind only. However unlike these, some others tried to mimic Theo's designs with LEGO TECHNIC models, but powered with one or more 9V motors. Well, not all, see ahead. ;)
Below the most known TECHNIC implementation by Chris Magno (on the left), together with a magnificent BMW commercial with Theo's original (on the right).

Chris presented his creation, last October at LUGNET, and have several photos at his Brickshelf folder with instructions, for his implementation of TJ's leg. Philo made his own implementation (see the video from his website) and someone tried to make also one that moves with the wind, but well... it moves however can't walk for itself.
If you look for, certainly will find more implementations like these, existing in the net.

From left to right: Chris Magno's TJ walker; Philo's TJ walker; The wind moving version (once the author doesn't have parts enough, it has legs at one side and wheels on the other).

Interesting are also the simulations made on the TJ's leg geometry and parts proportion to make it move smoothly and without significant balance. See a few videos below,

From left to right: Simulation CGI with Softimage|3D and Adobe After Effects; Mechanism simulation made with The Geometer's Sketchpad 4; An horse variation from

The flatten and wider the curve described by tip of the leg, the better it would behave.
At his website, Philo described how he simulated it using Euklides 2.02 geometry freeware.
On the other way you can try it yourself easily, through the controls on the interactive flash animation below.

Original from,

And finally some other videos of Theo Jansen's creations.

From left to right: Animaris Rhinoceros; Strandbeest; A Theo Jansen lecture.


Roger said...


I had no idea there were such things in the real world!

Happy easter by the way.

Alban said...

Very interesting !
You can see my Jansen lego technic walker with 16 legs, inspired by philohome website.

TechnicBRICKs said...

Hi Alban,

have visited also your TECHNIC blog, but didn't new your Theo Jansen model.
Quite impressive due to the huge amount of legs (like the original which also has a large number of them).

max schwartz said...

Great work! Theo Jansen wrote on his website about the perfect proportions to make the legs. Thats how he gets his "beasts" to move smoothly.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

© 2007-2014 TechnicBRICKs
TechnicBRICKs contents may be sporadically updated, if the authors finds further relevant info about a certain post, or content/spell mistakes. Hence please don't be surprised if you find few changes at later visits, relative to a previous read.

TechnicBRICKs often shows other peoples' creations and/or images. We always try to credit the author(s) and link to their main publishing website, and if possible with their name in real life.
Since this is not always possible, we request that if you find something here that is yours or from someone you know, you leave a comment on the respective post and claim the authorship.

TechnicBRICKs is optimized for Firefox 16.0 and 1600x1200 resolution displays or wider.

LEGO® is a trademark of The LEGO Group of companies which does not sponsor, authorize or endorse this blog.
LEGO, the LEGO logo, the Brick and Knob configurations, the Minifigure and MINDSTORMS, are registered trademarks of The LEGO Group.
Original LEGO images are copyrighted by The LEGO Group and are used here in accordance with their fair play policy.
You can visit the official LEGO® website at