Walking without electronics

Mechanical and pneumatic technology is underlying some remarkable works of art

Kinetic sculptures that move around a beach demonstrate a number of innovatory techniques that more mainstream engineers might wish to tap into.

Made of plastic tubing normally used as cable conduit in The Netherlands, they walk about under wind or compressed air power. Some can even sense the presence of water or soft sand and avoid it, without recourse to any kind of electronics.

The walking mechanisms are unique, and offer a much more energy-efficient way of crossing soft ground than using wheels and tracks. They represent a possible template for future planetary exploration vehicles, but it is some of the component mechanisms that may prove most interesting and potentially transferable.

More details appear in the April issue of Eureka.

Tom Shelley

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