Theo Jansen is a Dutch kinetic artist, since 1990 occupied with creating new forms of life. He is father to the "Animari" beach creatures, or "Strandbeests", made of PVC tubing, that walk the beach powered by the wind. As time progresses the Beests evolve, with the ultimate goal of living their lives on their own.
Now Theo Jansen's Strandbeests have found a way to multiply by injecting their digital DNA directly into the Shapeways system. From now on several small strandbeests are available from his shop
. Next to being a great abstraction of the inspiring work of Theo Jansen, these strandbeests are also an example of what 3D printing is capable of. Right after birth from the 3D printer these models will work straight away and do NOT require any assembly.
Designing the Beests this way proved quite the challenge. They consist of at least 76 separate moving interlocking parts. Multiple prototypes were used to come to the first viable solution, "Animaris Geneticus Parvus" #5. But the evolution process continues with evolutions #6 with lightweight bone structure and #7 with pointy feet.
3D printing is very suitable for rapid design changes, and as time goes by the Beests will evolve and new types of DNA will be added to the store, while others are removed. Expect more evolutions and variations in the future, with possible variation in size, shape, material or means of propulsion.
Also worth mentioning, a big brother to these Strandbeests is the limited edition "Animaris Geneticus Parvus XL", which is only available from Theo's Dutch Gallery Akinci
Animaris Geneticus Parvus is a joint project of Theo Jansen and Dutch Designers Bo Jansen and Tim van Bentum.
I can not think of very many things more amazing that these. Many of us idolize and try to emulate the Great Masters of art and invention history, but what we have here in Theo Jansen is a modern day Da Vinci. Watch him and learn.
I think the only true way to let the DNA evolve is to put the 3d model file out there for free and let people advance it. Of course doing this wouldn't make any money for Theo, but it would advance the DNA at a much faster rate.