We are hosting automata maker Keith Newstead in conjunction with the newly opened Curious Contraption winter show at the Exploratorium and, in Tinkering Studio style, we immediately put him on the spot. During our first group meeting everyone went around writing down one idea for an automata — suggestions included “man lifting a car,” “a luchador,” and “vote them all out.” Keith picked the winner, which was “Man drinking tea and sticking out his tongue because it’s too hot,” and immediately started sketching the way he would go about building it. Watch the video for a glimpse into the mind of a master automata-maker, and stick to the end to learn the secret he sworn he would take to the grave, but ended up revealing.
It's amazing to me to see the facility with which Keith transforms abstract ideas into a concrete plan of action, the language and vocabulary he has clearly developed for thinking through his ideas, and expressing them in visual form. Now all that's left is to actually build the thing!