This was a commission from Science Projects, a great company in London
who manufacture interactive exhibits. They had landed the job of building the exhibits for
a whole science centre in Sharjha zoo (in the Arab Emirates) and offered me the job of
producing a giant mechanical man showing mechanical equivalents of human
organs. This sort of idea showing mechanical equivalents of organs was
popular in the 1950s but has long gone out of fashion. The analogies are never precise,
but they are fun to puzzle out and to criticise where the analogies break down.
Fortunately Science Projects decided a giant mechanical man would make a good entrance to
their biology gallery.
is an enlarged version of me. I made a contraption to measure the cross section of my legs
and arms at regular intervals, and then projected these, together with projections of my
profile and front view, to enlarge everything to the appropriate scale. With the final
dimensions on paper, I then bent 3mm by 13 mm steel strip to fit, and welded them to form
the giants exterior.
The giant breathes, his heart pumps,
and his blood (red LEDS) course through his veins. Once every few minutes, he pauses for
thought his arm rising to scratch his head. He also looks down and turns to follow
anyone who approaches him.
I had less than three months to make him, and it
would have been impossible without the help of Simiond Oakley and Graham Norgate.