Meet Kelys & Chirp: MB&F's new Automaton
Introducing Kelys & Chirp, a musical automaton that pairs a walking tortoise (Kelys) with a singing bird (Chirp) that lives under its shell.
Kelys (whose name comes from the Greek word for tortoise) walks around while Chirp sings its song, popping out from under its shell to do so.
There are 480 total components in the movements, many of which are an ode to Pierre Jaquet-Droz's original singing bird automaton from the 1780s. It was designed, developed and made by Reuge – the expert music box makers – with help from automaton specialist Nicolas Court.
When activated, Kelys will walk along a table or a desk in the same manner as an actual tortoise (due to an ingenious system of elliptical gears and specially shaped cams). His head swings from side-to-side as well. And Kelys travels around about the same speed as a real tortoise too, at a brisk 0.03 metres per second.
While Kelys walks along, his shell opens up, and Chirp pops out. The bird is made of 18k white gold and steel, with sapphire eyes. As Kelys chirps, it flats its wings moves its tail and opens and closes her beak. Chirp 'chirps', if you will, between ten and twelve seconds (depending on the melody).
Here is a video demonstrating Kelys & Chirp in action:
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