Hour 20: Where are they now?

Here’s a look at how the teams’ beests have developed after 20 full hours of hacking (and some napping and snacking):


We’ve overcome the sleep wall…well, some of us

Hello fellow hackers!

If you’re still tuning in, then you’ll know we are about two hours shy of sunrise. Can you believe it? Productivity at the Hackathon is at an all time high! While the number of awake individuals has dwindled, the teams are still putting their best foot forward and are determined to finish the #Strandbeest Hackathon. We sincerely applaud their efforts, because the need to sleep is really setting in.

Take a look at their progress below!

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Its 2am and we’re still going strong!

T-11 hours until the end of the Hackathon!

While some folks have taken the opportunity to rest their eyes, many of the teams are still hard at work making AMAZING creations. Each team seems to have taken their own unique approach to the challenges, and we are loving what we’ve seeing so far.

Who do you think will take it all? Let us know by tagging @peabodyessex #PEMhack!

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.

Team Spotlight: Hampstead Academy Hackers!

Team Name: Hampstead Academy Hackers

Team Motto: There are no rules!

Materials Being Used: PVC

Beest Bio: They aim to create a demo-board to bring back to their students. And on that demo board? A Strandbeest leg!

Beestly Blurb: The Hampstead Academy Hackers are a cross-curricular team consisting of educators from different backgrounds. Playing off the interdisciplinary nature of the beests, they aim to take what they learn back to the classroom and open the floor up to their students. What materials would they use? What kind of beest would they create?

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: Mayors of Simpleton!

Team Name: Mayors of Simpleton

Team Motto: Build the American beest!

Materials Being Used: PVC

Beest Bio: This team isn’t looking to build the whole animal, but rather pieces of it that work cohesively to create movement. They strive for a simple design that can be easily replicated.

Beestly Blurb: After finding out about the Hackathon via a Facebook post, this team wasn’t sure what to expect, but thought it might be fun. Needless to say the event has exceeded their expectations!

Release the Hackathon beests!

The time has come to release our Hackathon challenges! Below are two design prompts inspired and devised by Theo Jansen himself. We’ve also included the list of supplies we have given each team in case you would like to give the challenges a shot from the comfort of your own home, office, or work space.

Make sure you share your final products with us by tagging @peabodyessex #PEMhack #Strandbeest on Twitter and Instagram!

Challenge #1
Background – After sharing the genetic codes of the Strandbeest with the world, Theo Jansen has been pleasantly surprised by the new iterations of the creatures produced by his fans. Impressed by the cleverness of the Beests and their continued use of humans to ensure their reproduction and survival, a new type of Strandbeest is waiting to be conceived.
Problem to solve – The Dutch electrical conduit PVC tubing that Jansen’s Strandbeests are built from is not sold in the United States. It is not an easy material to obtain, and makes building a large scale Dutch Beest in Salem, MA both impractical because of the material and impossible, because Salem isn’t in Holland.

The alternative and your challenge, should you choose to accept: Conceive of and create a the beginnings of a Beest that will be build from electrical conduit PVC available locally.

Please consider the local environment that this Beest will be living, and how this Beest will contribute to species as a whole. Also, what are the advantages and disadvantages of the American PVC?

Materials provided:

  • 30-40ft of 1-inch diameter Electrical PVC conduit
  • Zip Ties
  • Various fasteners
  • Drinking straws

Challenge #2
Background – 
The Strandbeest’s genetic code, developed by a computer program in 1991 is known as the 13 holy numbers. Theo Jansen has used this genetic code to create the leg and leg movements of the Strandbeests for nearly 25 years. This code has allowed his Strandbeests to walk with relative ease and produce the movement that we find so captivating. Some Strandbeest mutations have slightly different genetic codes, and Jansen himself has praised their efficiency.

When giving advice to students about building their own Strandbeests, Jansen will often explain that the crank system is typically the component with the most problems. This is both due to the mechanics and the PVC tubing.

While he himself is committed to the PVC tubes and the original genetic code, we’d like to see your team shake things up.

Challenge: Develop a genetic code for a strandbeest specifically adapted to a non-PVC material.

You must be able to defend the code that you have created and demonstrate why/how your adaptation serves the particular Strandbeest mutation, and how you think it will help to ensure the survival of the species.

Also consider, where will this Beest live?

Materials provided:

  • Cardboard Drinking Straws
  • Craft Sticks
  • Pool Noodles
  • Zip Ties
  • Duct Tape

*You may choose a different non-PVC material and bring it to Hackathon.

Tools/Supplies Available for all teams:

  • Snips
  • Pliers
  • Scissors
  • Rulers
  • Paper
  • Pencils
  • String
  • Heat Guns
  • 1 Power Drill
  • 1 Rotary Cutter 1 Jigsaw
  • Basic Toolbox (hammers, screwdrivers etc.) Extension Cords
  • 1 Laser Printer
  • 1 Silhouette Printer

ALERT: Strandbeest Takeover

Inspired by Strandbeest: The Dream Machines of Theo Jansen, the Peabody Essex Museum is continuing a series of mini-residencies for its Maker Lounge. Creative, tech-minded, curious and people-loving folk are invited to take over the Lounge to develop their own project or projects exploring the poetic or pragmatic possibilities of mechanical motion, as exampled in Theo Jansen’s otherworldly kinetic sculptures that use simple machines — wheels, levers, pistons — to create wind-powered motion, blurring the boundaries between animate and inanimate beings. More information about the residency can be found at http://www.pem.org/learn/maker_lounge
Maker Lounge page lock up