Engineer Mark Ellis created The Playa Crawler, a brilliantly designed kinetic walking chair that he uses at Burning Man. The legs of this chair were inspired by Dutch artist Theo Jansen‘s wind-powered Strandbeest (previously) and is specifically crafted to withstand the alkaline floor of the Black Rock Desert.
The Playa Crawler is what’s considered a “mutant vehicle” or “art car” and is a piece of kinetic art. I made it to be used as my own personal vehicle to get around at Burning Man and i wanted something interesting and unique so I created a chair that walks with the legs. the leg linkage was invented by Theo Jansen, a Dutch artist who creates this massive walking sculptures called Strandbeest that walk along the beach being pushed by the wind. It was made to roam the alkali flats of the great Black Rock Desert.
The Playa Crawler was constructed in 2017 out of laser cut aluminum and steel. The personal vehicle also sports two power wheelchair motors and batteries and is controlled with a power chair joystick. Ellis posted a behind-the-scenes video showing how the Crawler was built.