In this Freudenstein Memorial Lecture, Bernard Roth presents an overview of the work at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford, known as the d.School. Pierre Larochelle, one of my former students, has a cameo at the beginning.
This is is an example of the kinetic art of Volkert van der Wijk. He has designed the linkage so that it is statically balanced, which allows the observer to position the acrobat in a wide range of positions.
This is an installation of one of Volkert’s pieces which is a linkage balanced so that when the observer provides a small upward push the sculpture lifts and extends, and then slowly collapses when the force is removed.
I was pleased to meet Volkert at the 2012 Advances in Robot Kinematics conference in Innsbruck, where he presented the mathematical theory for static balancing the Acrobat. His other work can be seen at his web page: Kinetic Art
This steering linkage is designed to increase the track, decrease the wheelbase and adjust the camber to stabilize high speed turning of the vehicle. The design theory uses an iterative procedure to identify task positions, solve the link constraint equations and analyze candidate designs to guarantee effective movement. This is research by Mark Plecnik.