Kinetic Creatures Walking Cardboard Animal Sculptures [VIDEO]
A combination of low technology materials, exceptional artistry and simple mechanics come together to create the “Kinetic Creatures“.
The three creatures (Elly the Elephant, Rory the Rhino, and Geno the Giraffe) are made of laser cut cardboard pieces. Step by step assembly instructional videos are provided on-line, showing how the tabs-and-slots components go together to create the creature.
As a stand-alone structure, there is an alluring artistic quality to these creatures. Elly the Elephant is reminiscent of the Eames wood elephants. This may be in part due to co-creature Lucas’ inspiration from Dutch craftsman, Theo Jansen. The website has plans and instructions for how to build a stand to display your creature.
The kinetic part of these creatures is what makes them remarkable and fascinating as an engineering marvel. Anyone that has ever practiced origami, or even simple paper airplanes, can’t help but think of the ingenuity that went into the design of these moving, bending cardboard creations. The creatures come alive by turning a wire handle which is connected to a simple linkage system.
Kinetic Creatures also sells a battery powered motorized gear box that mounts in the back of the animal. In keeping with the theme of these creatures, the gears are made from laser cut wood. More adventurous tinkerers can also use motors, sensors and other parts from Lego to augment their creature. It’s recommended that the gear ratios from the standard Lego kit be reduced otherwise the motor spins to fast and lacks the power to move the creatures.
Using the Lego parts, the creatures can gain some intelligence with the help of accelerometers and distance sensors. The entire unit can be programmed with tools like “WeDo” or “Scratch!“. One program allows the creature to walk forward until it senses something in from of it like a piece of furniture or your hand. The command simple is as simple as, “If distance sensor reads less than 100, turn the motor on, else, turn the motor off.”
A final word of advice in playing with your Kinetic Creatures – keep them away from the watering hole. After all, they are only cardboard.
(Image Credit – Kinetic Creatures)
(Video Credit – Kinetic Creatures )
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