An electronic Strandbeest tamed with an Arduino and gesture controls

Theo Jansen’s Strandbeest is a popular base for maker projects, especially when you start motorising it so you don’t need to depend on the wind.

That’s exactly what Instructables user ArduinoDeXXX did with a small plastic Strandbeest kit that’s sold for $35.

To this an Arduino Nano was added to control some motors as well as sensors used to detect hand movements.

There are four different gesture controls but the two important ones are for moving forwards and backwards. Shaking a finger in front of the machine will bring it closer, and showing it your palm will walk it back.


This was only one stage in the project’s development. Earlier systems, aside from the wind option with a propeller, include direct control with an IR remote.

After that, a small screen was added, as well as the options for voice commands and solar power.

You can see a quick overview of the progression in the video embedded below. An important step in the process is separating the legs so they can move in opposite directions, which allows the machine to turn.

If you want to make your own motorised Strandbeest a guide to replicate it can be found on Instructables.

[h/t – Blog]

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