Combing your Zen garden with a rake is so 15th Century. So inventor Bruce Shapiro’s Sisyphus machine ditches the rake and uses steel balls, untouched by human hands and seemingly moving on their own, to carve the sand.
In a 21st century take on the traditional Zen sand garden, artist Bruce Shapiro invented the Sisyphus Machine, an elaborate kinetic drawing machine that uses magnets to drag rolling steel marbles through a thin layer of sand to create complicated mandala-like patterns.
The Sisyphus models featured here have diameters of up to 9 feet, but Shapiro is working on creating a tabletop version. If you’re interested in owning one, sign up here to be placed on his mailing list and check out the prototypes. To see more ways that Shapiro has used motion control as a medium for artistic expression, check out his website.
Sisyphus Machine: Using Kinetic Sand Drawing Machines and Sand to Draw Zen Gardens: