Occasionally I like to break free from the Web 2.0/blogosphere-centric focus of this blog, just for the heck of it (I think the last time was when I posted a photo slideshow from my vacation in Florida back in the spring, which I cleverly justified by claiming I was demo-ing Bubbleshare). This one was so cool I couldn’t resist: Matt Marshall of VentureBeat.com had the bright idea of asking Christine Herron, a venture capitalist with the Omidyar Network who blogs at Christine.net, to write about some of the things she saw at the recent Burning Man festival, which I have always kind of wanted to go to — and she did.
One of the things she mentioned was the Mondo Spider — a “vehicle” of sorts that carries one passenger/driver, and looks like a gigantic metal arachnid, with articulated legs that lift and swing forwards. Extremely cool. The Spider is the brainchild of a group of mechanical geeks led by Jonathan Tippett of Industrialus, who started the project as part of Vancouver’s Junkyard Wars. There is some amazing video on YouTube of the Spider walking in its first public demo last month.
I haven’t been able to confirm it yet, but I have a feeling Jonathan is related to NowPublic founder Michael Tippett (more Spider video here too).
Jonathan sent me an email and confirmed that he and Michael are brothers, and also mentioned some of the co-creators of the Mondo Spider — including Leigh Christie (frame/drive train), Alex Mossman (“power pack” or hydraulic system) and Charlie Brinson (force calculations and coordination) as well as a key patent holder on the leg design, Joe Klann. On top of that, he added, were half a dozen “very dedicated volunteer fabricators.” Incredible work.