Skip to main content

This bizarro bicycle reinvents the wheel … as a set of spider legs

When Californian art and engineering collective Carv began developing the Strandbeest-inspired walking bike in 2014, it couldn’t have known the beast that it would create. Carv had an idea. It had a simple blueprint of a Jansen’s linkage. It had a 3D-printed model of what the device might look like, some experienced craftsmen, and a few hours to spare for a few nights each week.

Seven months and 700 man-hours later, when Carv submitted its creation to the Santa Barbara Solstice Parade, it had half of a bike with three functional legs and over 450 custom-made components. “[We] couldn’t believe the thing actually worked,” the collective wrote yesterday in a Facebook post.

Carv’s customization efforts are impressive, but its bike wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the work of Dutch artist Theo Jansen, who released his Strandbeests in 1990. The mechanical creatures are part works of art, part machines, and — according to Jansen — part lifeforms. Strandbeests (“beach beasts”) seem to be incredibly complicated, but function on a simple mechanism called a Jansen’s linkage that, when used in conjunction with other Jansen’s linkages, enable the creatures to walk.

Riding the Strandbeest Bike

Like land ships with legs, Strandbeests use sails to activate their joints and walk as the wind blows. Carv’s walking bike replaced Jansen’s sail with a couple pedals and a bike chain. As the cyclist pedals, the linkage the feet move back and forth, one before the other, like the legs of a shy spider.

Don’t expect to go very fast though. “One of the most common questions people ask is, ‘How fast does it go?’ or, ‘You should make it run off road,'” Jon Paul Berti, one of the bike’s creators, told Digital Trends. “It’s really not that kind of thing.  It requires a flat surface to work correctly, moves at a brisk walking speed, and it does not turn well.  We had some people try to ride it fast and it looks pretty nuts with the legs scuffling along that fast.  I’m sure it would break if they kept it up.”

Jon Paul isn’t yet sure if he’ll make the bike available for purchase any time soon. “We’ve had some requests,” he said, “but have not looked seriously into building them for sale. I can say that we put hundreds of hours into this project, and it would be very expensive to produce that way, but if enough people really wanted one, I guess we could look into finding a manufacturer.”

In the meantime, if you crave a bike like Carv’s, looks like you’ll have to head to shop and create one yourself.

Dyllan Furness
Dyllan Furness is a freelance writer from Florida. He covers strange science and emerging tech for Digital Trends, focusing…
4 simple pieces of tech that helped me run my first marathon
Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar displaying pace information.

The fitness world is littered with opportunities to buy tech aimed at enhancing your physical performance. No matter your sport of choice or personal goals, there's a deep rabbit hole you can go down. It'll cost plenty of money, but the gains can be marginal -- and can honestly just be a distraction from what you should actually be focused on. Running is certainly susceptible to this.

A few months ago, I ran my first-ever marathon. It was an incredible accomplishment I had no idea I'd ever be able to reach, and it's now going to be the first of many I run in my lifetime. And despite my deep-rooted history in tech, and the endless opportunities for being baited into gearing myself up with every last product to help me get through the marathon, I went with a rather simple approach.

Read more
This bracelet helps you fall asleep faster and sleep longer
woman-in-bed-wearing-twilight-apollo-on-ankle

This content was produced in partnership with Apollo Neuroscience.
Have you been struggling to get the recommended seven hours of sleep? It's always frustrating when you get in bed at a reasonable time, then toss and turn for a hours before you actually sleep. The quality of that sleep is important too. If you're waking up multiple times during the night, you're likely not getting the quality REM cycle sleep that truly rejuvenates your body. If traditional remedies like herbal teas and noise machines just aren't helping, maybe it's time to try a modern solution. Enter the Apollo wearable.

Now we understand being a little skeptical. How can a bracelet on your wrist or ankle affect your sleep patterns? Certainly the answer to a better night's sleep can't be so simple. We considered these same things when we first heard of it. We'll dive deeper into the science behind the Apollo wearable, but suffice it to say that many people have experienced deeper, uninterrupted sleep while wearing one.
A non-conventional approach to better sleep

Read more
The 11 best Father’s Day deals that you can get for Sunday
Data from a workout showing on the screen of the Apple Watch Series 8.

Father's Day is fast approaching and there's still time to buy your beloved Dad a sweet new device to show him how much you love him. That's why we've rounded up the ten best Father's Day tech deals going on right now. There's something for most budgets here, including if you're able to spend a lot on your loved one. Read on while we take you through the highlights and remember to order fast so you don't miss out on the big day.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 -- $200, was $230

While it's the Plus version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 that features in our look at the best tablets, the standard variety is still worth checking out. Saving your Dad the need to dig out their laptop or squint at a small phone screen, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 offers a large 10.5-inch LCD display and all the useful features you would expect. 128GB of storage means plenty of room for all your Dad's favorite apps as well as games too. A long-lasting battery and fast charging save him the need for a power source too often too.

Read more