Rube Goldberg meets Japanese engineering


Hans Kistner sends along links to a 2-minute Honda ad, which uses the parts of a Honda Accord in a sort of Rube Goldberg / "Mouse Trap" arrangement, a chain of reactions that begins with movement of a single part. It took over 600 takes to get this to work perfectly -- no trick photography or special effects.. The Daily Telegraph tells how the commercial was made.

The bigshots at Honda's world headquarters in Japan, when shown Cog for the first time, replied that yes, it was very clever, and how impressive trick photography was these days. When told that it was all real, they were astonished.

One of the more striking moments in the film is when a lone windscreen wiper blade helicopters through the air, suspended from a line of metal twine. "That was the first and last time it worked properly," recalls Tony Davidson, of the London-based advertising agency Wieden & Kennedy. "I wanted it to look like ballet."

After that, a few yards and several ingenious connections down the assembly line, another pair of windscreen wiper blades is squirted by an activated washer jet. Because Honda wipers have automatic sensors that can detect water, they start a crablike crawl across the floor. It is as though they have come to life.

Go see it. It is very cool.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on May 30, 2003 12:10 AM.

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