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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Gakken "Otona no Kagaku" Strandbeest & Steam Spider II

I love Gakken. They make really amazing science kits/magazines. Previously, I have used Gakken's Centipede, and Crab for my steam hacks. So being a huge fan of Gakken, I am honored to be included in the Vol #30 issue of Otona no Kagaku ("Adult Science") kits. These are magazine based on a theme, and includes a kit to build, so that you can fully appreciate and understand the subject. This particular issue is based on the amazing works of one of my inspirations, Theo Jansen. In a previous magazine article, I had mentioned Joe Klann, and Theo Jansen, as two of  my mechanical inspirations. Of course, all of the credit should go to Joe, the Steam Spider's amazing mechanical linkage design, was all his. My contribution was only in the aesthetics and the adaptation of steam.

Mini wind powered Strandbeest
This particular issue comes with a mini wind powered Strandabeest, which works amazingly well in low winds! It was also a blast to put together. The magazine covers many other projects that uses, or are inspired by the Strandbeest design. Gakken have thought everything through, and the magazine shows hacks with the kit to work with solar, rubber band, and motor conversions etc. Unfortunately it is too small and light to be steam powered.... although I'm very tempted to try. I do have another idea to do with this mini strandbeest, that have not been done before, and hope that I get some playing time soon to experiment!

I highly recommend this, and all other Gakken kits, for anyone interested in kinetic motion, and science in general. Even without being able to read Japanese, I found the projects to be inspiring and clear, and especially amazed at  all of the creations within this magazine. To be included in the same magazine with the great Theo Jansen, is an great honor. And again, all  credit should go to Joe Klann for his partnership with me on the featured Steam Spider II.

Important links:

Theo Jansen's Strandbeest
Joe Klann's Mechanical Spider
Video of the Otona No Kagaku stradbeest
Gakken Otona No Kagaku (Detailed review of each kit/magazine in English)
Gakken Otona No Kagaku manuals in English


  1. This can be considered as the innovative end of the person that means they are providing different types of the spiders made up of different tings. That would be lot of innovative things.

  2. Oh my god, I have to get one of these kits, I had no idea that it was out there. I found the original Japanese maker (Gakken) but I wonder if anyone could advise me on how to find an American distributor?

  3. Apparently you (and myself, because I'd also love to get my hands on one) can get one through amazon.


    seems to cost about 55 dollars or 40 euros plus shipping?

  4. Gakken has an ebay account and their shipping seems to be a little cheaper that way.

  5. You can order these kits here:
    The company ships world wide at very reasonable shipping costs.
    I have used them several times and every order has been immaculate and shipping swift.

    Oslo, Norway