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Hamster-powered machine draws a hamster portrait

A hamster takes its rightful place beside the luminaries of the art world thanks to the efforts of a very strange drawing machine.

Joji the hamster is a modern-day Picasso of the rodent world. The little furry creature is the star of a video showing off a machine built for the sole purpose of drawing a hamster image. It's called the Hamster Powered Hamster Drawing Machine and it comes from artist Neil Mendoza. Mendoza says the device is "finally bringing workout selfies to the animal kingdom."

Mendoza used plywood and aluminum to build a drawing machine that automatically sketches a picture of a hamster. An LCD screen inside the smaller circle shows video of the hamster's wheel. A Raspberry Pi computer sends commands to a motor to control the speed of the machine as the little critter runs in his cage. That means all the artistic labor is completely voluntary.

Strictly speaking, the hamster isn't physically powering the drawing machine. The motor handles the heavy lifting. Joji no doubt still feels a deep sense of artistic satisfaction. At least this project is much fuzzier and cuter than Mendoza's previous work using knives and a meat cleaver to play the Bee Gee's classic disco hit "Stayin' Alive."

(Via Designboom)