TKSST is taking a short summer break. Become a member to support our August return
The Kid Should See This

Automata artist Keith Newstead’s Curious Contraptions

The Exploratorium’s Curious Contraptions exhibits showcase some truly delightful pieces of automata, mechanical devices that move in patterns and often create a scene or narrative moment. In this video, automata artist Keith Newstead talks about the art form while we’re introduced to his creations.

“It’s nice, the engineering and the artistic bit coming together… I think that’s the nice thing: It’s a different art form and at the end, you turn the handle and it moves, which is the big payoff.”

automata dragon
automata dragon head
Keith Newstead in the studio
automata horse

Take a closer look at the details of his majestic dieselpunk pegasus:


This year’s Curious Contraptions exhibit at the Exploratorium in San Francisco runs from November 21–January 26, 2020.

Plus: More curious contraptions and more automata videos, including Rowland Emett’s Marvelous Dream Machines, this hand-cranked kangaroo automaton, The Writer, automata by Pierre Jaquet-Droz.

This Webby award-winning video collection exists to help teachers, librarians, and families spark kid wonder and curiosity. TKSST features smarter, more meaningful content than what's usually served up by YouTube's algorithms, and amplifies the creators who make that content.

Curated, kid-friendly, independently-published. Support this mission by becoming a sustaining member today.

🌈 Watch these videos next...

A wood automata submarine bustling with busy animals

Rion Nakaya

Pendulum Snake DIY, a Build Your Own Exploratorium demo

Rion Nakaya

Create a construction set with interlocking slots, a Tinkering Studio DIY project

Rion Nakaya

The Peacock Clock at The State Hermitage Museum

Rion Nakaya

Kinetic wooden wave sculpture with a little boat and jumping fish

Rion Nakaya

The Golden Rain Experiment: Turning lead into ‘gold’ lead

Rion Nakaya

Use a 9-volt battery to break water into its elemental components

Rion Nakaya

Tantalus Mackerel and a School of Fish automata

Rion Nakaya

The playful wonderland behind great inventions

Rion Nakaya