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Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

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Golems in Jewish folklore are manmade artificial creatures, constructed out of mud, and brought to life by mystical incantations. Our Golems are also an attempt to make artificial life from primitive materials, but our magic comes from harnessing open source hardware. Inspired by Ron Heron’s Walking City (1964), Theo Jansen’s Strandbeest (1990-ongoing), and Karl Sims’ Evolved Virtual Creatures (1994), we’ve developed a way to quickly build structures that walk, roll, and jump. Our “Golem Kit” is a lightweight, low-cost and open source pneumatic toolkit, to “Invent with Air Power”. Taking advantage of low cost 3D printing and open hardware tools such as Arduino, we’ve developed a low cost air muscle actuator and mechanical joint system that enables people of all ages to quickly make moving structures of all shapes and sizes. From biomorphic mechanisms, to dancing tensegrity structures to entire walking pavilions, Golem Kit enables fast and fun ways to explore how behaviour emerges out of the interaction of morphology and control systems.

Visit for more details and download the parts and follow the tutorials to try it yourself.

The GolemKit is a master degree project developed in Interactive Architecture Lab, The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. The project was supervised by Director of IALab Ruairi Glynn and developed with his students Siyuan Jing, Lydia Zhou and Juncheng chen — now in its 2nd year of development, after workshops in Brazil and Amsterdam, students from IALab are continuing to develop and expand the kit.

Golem Kit of Parts


November 2016 Workshop @ Bartlett UCL

Early Prototype Development

The first prototype came from our soft robotics workshop. It combines rigid structures (two tetrahedrons) with soft actuators (the air muscles). This simple robot can walk on different ground surfaces and the walking direction can be controlled by gestures.

Prototype Development - ialab




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