It’s here, the moment we’ve all been waiting for! We are proud to announce the winner of our Strandbeest Hackathon. Give a great big round of applause to….

The Mayors of Simpleton!

Congratulations on a job well done. The Conduitucus Americanus is truly the next step in Strandbeest evolution.

And please give another, equally hearty round of applause to our runner up…

The Devilbeests!

Noodles (The Noodlis) was definitely the sweetheart of the event, and her movements are inspiring!

Congratulations to all of our hackers and a huge thank you to our judges, we know it wasn’t an easy decision. Your ideas were great, your beests are grand, and it was a pleasure having you all join us for our first Hackathon here at PEM.

We would also like to thank our volunteers and our #PEMhack followers! Special shout out to our international audience in Australia, South Korea, U.S. Virgin Islands, Vietnam, Italy, Spain, and Iceland. Hope you enjoyed the Strandbeest Hackathon as much as we did!

You can see The Mayors of Simpleton’s prize winning beest in the Strandbeest: the Dream Machines of Theo Jansen exhibition, on view at the Peabody Essex Museum through January 3, 2016.


Beests Unleashed!

Our hackers did a wonderful job furthering the evolution of the Strandbeests, but the time has come to choose which beest reigns supreme.

Before we announce our winner (and the runner up!) let’s take a look at each team’s unique creation.

Mayors of Simpleton
Beest Name: Conduiticus Americanus
This team took their original idea of a simple, easily reproduced American beest and ran with it. Conduiticus Americanus is a true American mutant and this team definitely developed their own language with the PVC piping.


Clark School Solvers
Beest Name: Duckbeest!
This team created an aquatic beest. The mutant cousin of Boston’s Duck Tour crafts, this beest is equip to sustain itself in the watery blue.


Beest name: The Noodlis (affectionately nicknamed “Noodles”)
This beest has an undeniable charm, and rugged grace. Despite Noodle’s genetic disorders (gigantism, and bone deterioration caused by salvaged supplies), this beest, if suspended, would make a great masseuse.


Beest name: Nigrum Aqua Animus Insectum
This creature represents the next step in Strandbeest evolution. It’s beauty compels imitation, and its sleek design inspires and excites.


P.E.A Pod
Beest Name: Salsolis Optimus (or “the best tumbleweed”)
Flashy and large, this beest will undoubtedly attract the attention of many a human passerby, inspiring reproduction and recreation. This is truly a “great land jellyfish”!


Beest name: Strand-Cycle.
The melding of beest and man, this animal is the ultimate dream machine. It’s a beest bicycle which allows man and beest to work together as one!


Mullen Lowe
Beest Name: Hill-duh
This beest is an infant, a new American Strandbeest with skiing ability that is second to none. This team sought to create something that honored the DNA of Theo’s Strandbeests, and Hilda definitely delivers.


It’s Almost Time!

The beests are evolving! The hackers are hard at work, and the time for judging is almost upon us!

You’ve seen how the beests are taking shape, but how will the finished products differ from our hackers’ original ideas? In a little over an hour the hackers will pitch their beests to the judges.

Keep in mind the judging criteria:


Imaginative Adaptations!


Whose beest will be take the prize, and be featured in the Strandbeest exhibition?

Team Spotlight: Clark School Solvers!

Team Name: Clark School Solvers

Team Motto: We’re gonna be the very beest, like no one ever was!

Materials Being Used: A little bit of everything.

Beest Bio: Unwilling to give too much away, one thing this team will disclose is their dedication to Strandbeest evolution. If everything works out the way they plan the whole world could open up to the beests.

Beestly Blurb: This team’s innovation could be huge for the species as a whole.

Judging Criteria

Our hackers are hard at work building their beests. Each team brings something different to the table; unique perspectives, vibrant energies…and big plans for their beests!

That’s why the next few posts will be devoted to Team Spotlights.

But before we dive into that, here’s a quick overview of the criteria that will be used to judge our hacker’s creations:

  • Survivability! Or the beest’s ability to thrive. Will the beest be able to sustain itself in its given environment?
  • Imaginative Adaptations! Or the creativity of the beest. Does the beest represent the next step in Strandbeest evolution?
  • Reproductibility! Or the aesthetics of the beest. Is the design easy to replicate and does it inspire others to do so?

We’ll see which of our teams hits all of the above criteria, and keep an eye out for those Team Spotlights. Don’t forget, the winning team will have their hack featured in the Strandbeest exhibition!

Team Spotlight: P.E.A. Pod!

Team Name: P.E.A. Pod

Team Motto: Perfection is the enemy of the good!

Materials Being Used: PVC, along with other materials.

Beest Bio: One word; survivability! This team isn’t looking to create something that needs a lot of nurturing. Its aim is to produce the next generation of self-sufficient beests.

Beestly Blurb: The best part about the Hackathon for this team? The non-competitive nature of the event! Everyone is fun, friendly, and focused on their hacks.

Team Spotlight: Mullen Lowe!

Team Name: Mullen Lowe

Team Motto: Fail!

Materials being used: PVC

Beest Bio: This team is looking to build six Strandbeest legs, but their master blueprint includes plans for a body too!

Beestly Blurb: These co-workers love building things, and getting their hands dirty. They’re excited that the Hackathon allows them to channel their creativity.

Team Spotlight: Evolucionarios!

Team Name: Evolucionarios

Team Motto: Forget about the rules!

Materials Being Used: PVC

Beest Bio: Drawing inspiration from the precise nature of Theo’s practice, they aim to maximize the possibility of success through repetition. They bring a whole new meaning to the phrase “practice makes perfect”!

Beestly Blurb: Comprised of fathers and their kids, family comes first on this team!

The Hackathon Has Begun!

The teams are gathering their supplies, and the beests are ready to evolve!

Theo Jansen spoke of evolution earlier today when he met with the hackers. He stated how the beests “use humanity to multiply”, and how the hackers will contribute to their evolutionary history.

The name of the game? Survivability! It is Theo’s dream that his animals will thrive long after he is gone. The challenge that the teams will face is creating a creature that’ll be able to sustain itself within its given environment.

The two types of animals in question? “American mutants” built from electrical conduit PVC pipe (larger than the Dutch PVC which Jansen uses), and beests of a different structure and genetic code all together.
With the larger PVC piping Jansen expects not only a bigger beest, but a bigger challenge. When creating these “American mutants” the hackers must pay special attention to the pipe joints, and “develop their own language” with the tubes.

The poetics of Jansen’s language (and his special relationship with the Strandbeests) was demonstrated earlier today when the hackers encountered his creations up close. Each team drew inspiration from the joints and spines of Jansen’s unique animals.

As for the other structures to be utilized throughout the hackathon?

Time will tell how these will contribute to the evolution of the beests.


Hello fellow hackers!

Today is a beautiful day to have a 24-hour hackathon, don’t you think? We have eight fantastic teams ready to step up to the plate and solve some #Strandbeest challenges.

Want to see how the teams progress? Want to get a first-hand look at Hackathon happenings? Follow @peabodyessex #PEMhack on Twitter and Instagram. Use #Evolucionarios #MullenLowe #ClarkSchoolSolvers #PEApod #MayorsOfSimpleton #HampsteadAcademyHackers #DADAs and #Devilbeests to reach out and keep track of specific teams.

Want to video in? Skype us @maker.lounge

Stay tuned, we’ll be releasing the challenges soon!

T-4.5 hours until the Hackathon begins…