The Vex Robotics Strandbeast is a representation of one of the Dutch artist Theo Jansen‘s ‘beach creatures‘ that can be found on various beaches in Holland. The real thing is powered entirely by the wind, hence the ‘sails’ on this robot’s back. However, the robot Strandbeast has to make do with a couple of motors in its middle, and a set of gears to drive each leg (there are four legs being driven by each motor). Additionally, our Strandbeast has front and rear distance sensors, so that it doesn’t bump in to things. Like the Ant and Spider, it is programmable by switching a set of 6 switches on its brain and steerable by remote control.

The Strandbeast was quite a complex robot to build, because each of its legs has to be properly aligned when they are connected to the motor. It took me a while to understand this, so for quite a long time after I first built it it wasn’t walking properly. It wasn’t until I’d dismantled and rebuilt it a few times I realised what the key to it all working properly was, and now it is much more impressive.