Thursday, February 04, 2016

Ned Kelly. Australian icon. Innovator. Misunderstood genius.

Ned Kelly. Australian icon. Innovator. Misunderstood genius. More than a bushranger. Not just another bearded hipster on a fixie...

Inventor of the bicycle helmet, by which means he sought to protect the rider from the perils of Magpie Attack! 

People speak of drop bears and sharks and hundreds of other deadly, bitey and sting-y things in Australia, but what brings true terror to Australians every spring is the magpie, swooping from above with murderous intent, especially to those who dare to ride bikes.
Not many people know that Ned Kelly was a keen early cyclist, and instead of cowering indoors in September, he decided to do something about it.

 He invented the bicycle helmet. 

Admittedly his early prototype was very heavy (remember this was before the invention of polystyrene) and lacked a little in peripheral vision, but he had on-going plans to develop his ideas.

Unfortunately where he got in to trouble was with his early method of crowd funding. Approaching financial institutions and the public with guns blazing, and promising not to shoot his backers as a reward, was met with a level of misunderstanding by the police of the day.

When Kelly faced the full weight of the law, the judge redefined 'stretch goals' and his enterprise came to an early end.

Such is life...

Here are some photos of my first real attempt at automata - figurative kinetic sculpture. Ned rides his bike as he is continually swooped by a magpie.  Check out the video too!

Magpie has paper wings and a body made of Kneed-it epoxy putty
Ned is made from pine mostly, with aluminium armour (from old drink cans) and aluminium wire for arms, easy to bend in shape! This photo shows him without his jacket and chest armour.

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