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Theo Jansen and His Creatures as Seen on TED

Theo Jansen Makes Creatures That Roam The Beach

Theo Jansen from the Netherlands studied physics at the Delft University of Technology. However, this didn't stop him from also excelling in the arts. He has done numerous exhibits in drawing and painting, and he has even taught photography and orchestrated light shows.

However, his most noteworthy works are his kinetic sculptures. Now making sculptures that move is certainly no small task, but making them behave like creatures who live their own lives is what really causes jaws to drop. These creatures are made of electrical tubing and other cheap materials, and they walk up and down the beach while avoiding the surf or deep sand. These "animals" feed on the wind with their sails and compress air in plastic bottles which act as their stomachs.

Theo used computer modelling to help in the designs but the process is too complex for that alone, so he recruited another heavy hitter...Evolution. Basically, the designs which don't do so well are declared extinct while the better ones get to have their traits included in the next generation. This has produced many species that keep getting better with each generation.

There is little doubt that Theo Jansen is a genius. He has excelled in physics, the arts, engineering and in a strange form of biology.

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