Cardboard Automata are a playful way to explore simple mechanical elements such as cams, levers, and linkages, while creating a moving sculpture. This activity is easy to start but may become more and more complex as you become familiar with possible motions and imagine ways to artistically decorate your contraption. Cardboard automata use levers, cams, cam followers, linkages, and other mechanisms to make unique personalized creations.
Cardboard Automata is an activity inspired by the work of Cabaret Mechanical Theater, a collection of artists and craftsmen who explore making crank operated automata as an expressive medium that blends technical engineering with artful narrative. Some visitors start by selecting a mechanical movement that inspires them, whereas others envision a story they want to tell first; and eventually, both will have to blend together for a successful automata to be completed.
This is a playful and inventive way of exploring levers, cams, cam followers, linkages, and
Cardboard Automata are a good example of integrating science and art into an activity. For learners, the narrative, decorated aspects of the automata are as important as the mechanical elements.
This activity is a good introduction to a variety of mechanisms and systems found in other PIE activities, and in the real world.