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February 10, 2014 AT 5:00 pm

Car-Crushing Mechanical Claw #robotics

DIY Projects Cool DIY Engineering Projects Popular Mechanics

Christian Ristow, winner of the Backyard Genius Award, uses his experience as an artist and animatronics designer for the movie industry to create a car crushing mechanical claw. via Popular Mechanics

Our top prizewinner spent years dreaming of the perfect way to crush cars by hand. In 2007 Christian Ristow, an artist and former animatronics designer for the movie industry, demonstrated his first working incarnation of the Hand of Man at a robotics festival in Amsterdam. Much of his time since then has been spent re-engineering and refining the design of the 27-foot-long hydraulically actuated appendage, exhibiting more and more capable crushers at a series of public venues­. Ristow’s latest mechanical steel limb has 90-degree wrist rotation and improved mobility in the finger joints. It is powered by a 90-hp Perkins 1104C-44T four-cylinder diesel engine and is controlled through a glove worn by the operator. At demonstrations, that operator is usually a random member of the audience. “I’ve built other large-scale radio-control robots for shows over the years, but I always felt like I was the one having the most fun,” Ristow says. “This democratizes the crushing power.”

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