Joules sits on the back of a tandem bicycle and does all of the pedaling for both riders. He was created following a challenge to build a robot that pedals a bicycle like a person. The intent of Joules was to express the joy of design and craftsmanship, with practicality playing no role whatsoever. The electrically powered pedal driving mechanism was a particularly fun part of the design. His builder, Carl Morgan, says that Joules' top speed will never be known because of the abject cowardice of his human riding partner.
Carl states that Joules does not have a particular purpose. We can ask the question, what is the purpose of art? And why do people want to see it? My guess is that we like to see what humans can image and then achieve. Joules may not be the Mona Lisa, however if not all of us, some of us, are still fascinated by machines like Joules and their intricate movements and motions. That's why we still love toy trains.
In this respect, there may be machines more interesting than Joules, but as far as I am considered Joules is interesting because it uses one of the fundamental blocks of machine design, the four bar mechanism, eloquently. Joules has 4, four bar mechanism, two of which are visible by the RGB (Red, Blue, Green) linkages shown in the animation, and demonstrates to us that, with different combinations of the four bar mechanism we can achieve an unlimited variety of motions.
I am sure that Carl has spent a great deal of time, money and effort for this challenge to create Joules. My hope is for Joules to be displayed at a leading university's mechanical engineering department for future engineers to view one of the building blocks of mechanical engineering, the four bar linkage, in motion.
Where are the other two four bar mechanisms hidden in Joules? The answer is here