Theo Jansen‘s world-famous ‘strandbeests’ [strandbeest = beach beast/animal — Dutch plural would be ‘strandbeesten’] have been around since 1990 when he started experimenting with mechanical engineering, building skeletons from plastic pipes that use the wind power to move ‘magically’ all on their own.
“The mini-strandbeest uses the same mechanism designed specifically by the artist for the project and like its forebear comes with a fan at one end that catches the wind, propelling the legs to move in a cyclical fashion. Built from 120 parts that snap together to form 12 jointed legs, a spinelike crankshaft, and a wind turbine, it takes about 90 minutes to build.”
Where can you buy them? Give Google a whirl using ‘mini-strandbeest DIY’ and quite a few results will pop up that seem quite affordable.
Dutch designer Tjeerd Veenhoven has come with an ‘iFan’, a way for him to charge his iPhone while cycling, I guess, to work and back, and around town.
Smartphone batteries don’t last long in a day, especially if you do more than just call and be called. A friend of mine usually asks his husband before they leave somewhere if he is ‘all charged up’, not if he is ready to go, just to give you an idea of the sign of the times.
The iFan, made with a modified computer fan, is a rubber skin that just slides onto the phone and charges when the wind blows, taking 6 hours to fully charge an iPhone. As Veenhoven writes, “rather long I think… but it works.”
He plans to see what he can do about making the fan blades smaller and have the thing charge from a car and the likes. I enjoy reading about his thought process as well, which keeps it real.