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I work for Toys for Bob / Activision. Posts here are my personal views, and do not necessarily reflect that of my employer. 

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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Hamster Powered Walker



I recently blogged about being in Gakken magazine, and mentioned that I have ideas to hack the mini wind powered Strandbeest that comes with it. Well I am happy to say that it worked! I give you, the Hamster Powered Strandbeest.
In the magazine, Gakken had converted the mini strandbeest into almost everything imaginable, including solar power, rubber band powered, and even micro processor control. So of course I thought about steam power, but quickly decided that it would be more pain than I'm willing to suffer. Plastic does not like heat very much, and the kind of weight a steam plant intruduces, would be a nightmare for this kit. If it was much bigger and stronger,  I probably would have done it, but thankfully, I had another even sillier idea.

The hamster powered? that's just stupid, which is the exact reason why I did it. It's different, hasn't been done before, yet it's in so many what's-under-the-hood jokes. It also had a high likelyhood of working, so I had to attempt it. Only problem: I don't have a hamster, I don't want a hamster for a pet, and I don't know what sort of power and weight a little critter like that has. All I know is that I've seen them go ballistic on the hamster wheel, and so they must have great weight to power ratio.
Original Gakken Strandbeest, gears and fan removed
I quickly removed the gearing and windmill, cut some plastic and mounted a hamster ball to this contraption. I used ball bearings on the hamster ball axels, and mecanno sprockets/chain to transfer the power from the hamster ball to the main crank. I did some initial testing with my son's motorized train inside of the hamster ball, so I had fair confidence on the gear ratio needed for it to work.
Hamster ball, meccano sprocket/chain, plastic frame, misc mounting hardware.

Then my sister in law (who runs a great craft blog, Crafty Carnival) came to the rescue, and was able to borrow one of her friend's pet hamster. Enter Princess the Hamster. Princess is a tiny little thing, much smaller than what I had imagined and prepared for. I was afriad that her weight wouldn't be enough to get the ball going. But luckily it all worked out great, and test pilot Princess had no problems getting the strandbeest up to speed.

When the cat walked in, I expected that it would provide some motivation on both parties, but they didn't really cared about each other. In fact, Princess kept going towards to cat, and eventually the cat just lost interest and walked away. Anyway check out the video, and a special thanks to Princess, and her owner for letting me borrow her for a few minutes! Now the nieces (two girls in the video) wants their own hamster, so I may get some more test pilots in the near future ;)
edit:
Princess and the walker has made it into the current issue of MAKE Magazine! and a brief appearance on TV Asahi's Torihada in Japan!


36 comments:

  1. Wow. Great! A Strandbeest is an impressive beast, but this is even more fun.

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  2. Our inevitable conquest by the robot Overloads will now be slightly more cuddly.

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  3. Princess is a Roborovski Dwarf Hamster. They're the smallest but also the fastest of the dwarf hamsters (I have a blog of my own - tamerobos.com) so her need for speed compensated for her size.

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  4. Yet another amazing invention from the Crabfu workshop. I'm truely impressed.

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  5. Linked to at homeonlagrange.com

    Very cool stuff! Jansen's videos are hypnotic and you've got one of your very own.

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  6. This actually has serious commercial potential, perhaps with just a simple geared down wheel set instead of the Strandbeest mechanism.

    One of the problems with Hamsters in balls is they're pretty quick, and they tend to get caught in things very frequently (under chairs, cabinet kickspaces, etc.) You're constantly having to follow them around and "unstick" them.

    This gears down the hamster and makes it taller, so it's much less likely to get stuck. Post it on Kickstarter and some hampster forums...you may have something here.

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  7. These hamsterballs are not good for the hamsters!
    They feel exposed and are under pure stress, as they can not escape and hide.
    Also, the balls are way too small so that the hamsters spine is flexed too hard.

    Please don´t make your animals run in that kind of device!

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  8. these is so cool, can i send this as a present overseas. the cyborg legs kinda freak me out.multiple thumb up.

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  9. this is more than i bargained for. these cyborg looking legs give this hamster a very epic look.
    i have to send this as a gift to my lil sis.she'll love it.


    --
    conference call

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  10. Is there a full scale version for this? I would love to be the test pilot for it if there is! =D

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  11. Bravooo j'aime bien !!
    where can i find it ?

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  12. That is animal abuse! The Hamster is afraid of the ball!

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  13. where can i buy that mini strandbeest ?i have many hamster too :P

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  14. I was very encouraged to find this site. I wanted to thank you for this special read. I definitely savored every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.

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  15. I need a hamster ball asap for my little gerbile.

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  16. That's a cute mini wind power plant! it's interesting~

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  17. Really cool stuffs you have shared in this post and nice collection.

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  18. Wow. That's awesome. (I have a hamster too: inkythehamstermommy.blogspot.com)

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  19. That's cool! My hamster would love to get it :) where can I buy it?

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  20. now all you need to do is make it turn

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  21. needs a machine gun!!!

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  22. I think this mouse is too much wealthy for this act...! :D

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  23. Fajna zabawka:)

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  24. A good idea should be to make hamsters produce electrical energy

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  25. Now that is just too cool! You need to spray paint the legs and then distress the paint to make it look like worn rusted iron. Video tape the Hamster Beast moving in an apocalyptic setting. Nerd meter pinned!

    Al

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  26. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  27. You've been turned into an animated GIF and are featured on Know Your Meme.

    http://knowyourmeme.com/photos/440553-dafuq

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