Jack and the Beanstalk

John Houck, David Mankin, Keasa Jones

Our automaton is based upon a gingerbread man toy. The toy works by having a small weight connected to two strings that the user swings in a circle. This resulting motion causes the two strings to be tensioned alternately. The strings are passed through the gingerbread man's hands at a specific angle and he climbs one at a time due to the changing tension in the strings. When he reaches the top, the weight can be pushed up, and as the tension is released, he will descend back to the bottom.

Our automaton uses the concept of motion along the strings. One of the primary differences with our automaton is that the motion of the strings is controlled by a system of cams and levers. Rather than have a weight attached to the strings, two off-center cams and levers are used to create the same type of motion. We also increased the scale of the automaton by a large amount to make it more dramatic and to make it easier to attach a cricket to. Additionally, we wanted a story to go along with our automaton so we chose the story Jack and the Beanstalk.