Topic: mechanics

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An accidental toy inventor’s shapeshifting designs

What if we could make objects transform in the same way a flower unfolds from its bud? This is what designer, Harvard professor, and accidental toy inventor Chuck Hoberman is trying to figure out. His work, ranging fr...

Giant Minotaur and spider robotic puppets in Toulouse

The city of Toulouse, France "has given itself over to an immersive form of street theater, bringing to life creatures like the giant spider and the Minotaur, the mythical monster from Greek mythology that is half bul...

How the V&A recreated an 18th-century Mechanical Theatre

An 18th-century mechanical theatre was a technology of tricks and devices that changed scenes almost miraculously. With nothing of this scale from history surviving, watch as exhibition designer, Patrick Burnier and h...

A cube and a heart made from paper gears

Japanese paper crafter Haruki Nakamura designs mechanical paper karakuri-style animals and other paper automata. In the silent video above, he creates a cube made from 12 interlocking paper gears. Nakamura has also...

The Silver Swan, an 18th century automaton at the Bowes Museum

An automaton like no other in the world, The Silver Swan floats upon a flowing glass stream and catches a beautifully crafted silver fish while its music box plays. The action lasts for around 40 seconds, a daily afte...

How does a bowling alley work?

How do the bowling pins at a bowling alley get set up so quickly and efficiently after you've bowled them over with your bowling ball? Ask Matt Bowlin, a Boise State University student and a pinsetter mechanic. In thi...

Cycling, a LEGO Technic creation by Yoshihito Isogawa

A round yellow track made from LEGO's circular gear rack, also referred to as four 'banana' gears, spins as a bicycle rider rides inside of it. This cycling creation was built by Japanese pro LEGO builder Yoshihito Is...

Automata artist Matt Smith and his Curious Contraptions

Born in 1965, Matt Smith spent about six weeks at the Falmouth School of Art before deciding he would rather spend his time "making silly things." He began making automata in 1980 and, in 1986, formed the Fourteen Bal...

Cassie, Agility Robotics’ ostrichlike bipedal robot

Untethered, battery-powered, and able to traverse a variety of terrains, these remote-controlled bipedal robots are designed for everything from search-and-rescue situations, to telepresence, to grocery delivery. They...

A LEGO lawn mower man endlessly cuts the grass

A LEGO man mows his LEGO lawn, endlessly pushing a LEGO lawn mower. This kinetic sculpture was created by Jason Allemann, aka JK Brickworks, and can be powered by hand crank or motor. The illusion of grass-cutting...

Hand cranked mechanical singing birds by Bliss Kolb

This hand-cranked mechanical bird sings from a small leather bellows that whistles in two notes. A cam presses a lever that changes the pitch while other cams pull on strings that animate the bird's six movements as i...

Autonomous Machines: Creating patterns with mechanical objects

A DIY drawing idea from graphic designer Echo Yang: Make art with a wind-up toy. While attending Design Academy Eindhoven, Yang created a series called Autonomous Machines, pattern painting projects implemented with m...

Haruki Nakamura’s surprising paper karakuri animals

Japanese paper crafter Haruki Nakamura designs mechanical paper karakuri-style animals that peek and pop in surprising ways. Karakuri, meaning 'trick' or 'mechanism', are mechanical automata pieces that were first mad...

Bequeath These Seeds, a blooming brass wire kinetic sculpture

Brass wire and liquid plastic flutter open and close like flowers in time lapse, driven by motorized mechanisms within the wooden scaffolding below. Bequeath These Seeds was created by kinetic sculptor Casey Curran fo...

Handle, Boston Dynamics’ robot on wheels

Balancing on two legs with wheels for feet, Boston Dynamics' Handle robot looks a bit like it's rollerblading in a science fiction movie. Watch it roll down stairs, carry 45kg of stuff, and leap over hurdles. Yes, it ...

Rainbow Wave LEGO Great Ball Contraption

Featuring a 38 color rainbow of LEGO bricks, this Rainbow Wave LEGO Great Ball Contraption (GBC) was built in over 100 hours by Berthil van Beek. It's his first GBC build. Watch as tiny soccer balls and basketballs mo...

Strain Wave Gearing LEGO Great Ball Contraption (GBC) Module

Behold another excellent Great Ball Contraption (GBC) from LEGO enthusiast Akiyuki, this one with Strain Wave Gearing. Akiyuki explains: Strain wave gearing consists of three components: a wave generator, a flex s...

Curious Contraptions by automata artist Paul Spooner

Via the new Curious Contraptions exhibition at San Francisco's Exploratorium, meet artist and mechanic Paul Spooner. Within a community of British makers, Spooner created over 40 whimsical kinetic sculptures for The C...

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