Telus World of Science, Edmonton, AB

Core samples from 1,000 feet deep in the polar ice cap give scientists clues as to climatic conditions and life on the planet 10,000 years or more ago.

Simulated Ice core samples are mounted in the exhibit cabinet, and a monitor mounted above the cabinet can be moved by hand to reveal information about prehistoric times. The exhibit incorporates a number of unique features:

  • A viscous damper ensures that the monitor moves easily, but deters visitors from pushing it too fast.
  • End-of-travel shock absorbers protect the monitor from impact damage.
  • The digital encoder is mechanically linked to the carriage ensuring that it always stays in sync.

Telus World of Science, Vancouver, BC

Each of the three water cannons can be aimed at targets on a backdrop. The game teaches about water usage and conservation, and is scored by the number of targets hit within the time limit. As originally designed it had numerous problems causing frequent breakdowns. H. DASKEN Mechanical and Technical Innovations redesigned and rebuilt the cannons.

  • Designed and built new water cannons utilizing stainless steel construction and heavy duty, water compatible bearings. The cannons are subject to very rough handling by energetic children, but the end result is rugged yet attractive.
  • Installed an innovative water system incorporating staged filtration to exclude the debris that previously plugged the system causing the control valves to malfunction.

Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre at Whistler Village, BC

These 8-foot diameter Spindle Whorls stand 15 feet tall, and tower over you as you enter the cultural centre. They rotate slowly to enhance the visual impact (these are the largest ever made that actually rotate). First Nations artists carved the cedar disks; one representing the Squamish and the other the Lil'wat culture. Each Spindle Whorl with its pedestal weighs approximately 1,500 pounds.

Managed the Spindle Whorl project including subcontracts for fabrication and installation:
  • Design of the pedestals and rotational mechanism
  • Custom engineered soundproofing to make the motors totally silent
  • Fabrication of the structure and mechanism
  • Installation of the finished pieces at Whistler Village

Downtown Vancouver, BC; Artist: Daniel Laskarin

Four circular platforms of various sizes, each with a potted tree and a park bench, are set in a walking plaza. Each platform rotates slowly as follows:

  • The largest (20’ diameter) takes 40 hours per rotation, representing the work week
  • Next smaller, 8 hours – the work day
  • Next smaller, 1 hour – lunch break
  • The smallest, 20 minutes – coffee break

“Working Landscape”, as this interactive kinetic art is called, had recurring mechanical problems since its installation, causing one or more of the platforms to stop rotating. During the previous three years none of them worked at all.

H. DASKEN Mechanical and Technical Innovations investigated the problems that had caused the previous breakdowns and re-designed the drive mechanisms to correct those problems. All four platforms are now working smoothly and trouble free for the enjoyment of downtown pedestrians.


BC Museum of Mining, Britannia Beach, BC When the handle is pushed down it sets off a stunning audio visual display of an explosion shown on a very large screen. This is one of the most popular exhibits at the museum.

  • The original dynamite plungers had a dynamo inside the box, which was driven by the handle to create an electrical charge. This replica has a simple mechanism that gives it the feel of the driven dynamo. 

  • Built to withstand repeated and sometimes vigorous use by millions of visitors to the museum.


Haida Heritage Centre at Qay'llnagaay, Haida Gwaii, BC This 32-inch globe has images of Haida culture painted on the outside, and visitors can rotate it by hand. It incorporates an adjustable friction device that allows easy turning, but keeps enthusiastic people from causing it to spin too rapidly.

  • Designed the mechanism and structure 

  • Built and tested the finished Globe mechanism

Capilano Suspension Bridge and Park

The Living Forest exhibit includes an Owl that flaps its wings and winks an eye, some mechanized earthworms that burrow in the soil, and a Woodpecker that pecks the side of an imitation tree. The units are operated by hand crank, and with over a million visitors a year, the displays were constantly breaking down and needing daily repairs to keep them working.

  • Re-designed, rugged-ized and rebuilt the units
  • Provided a 2-year guarantee against mechanical breakdowns - a tall order considering they are often operated by very enthusiastic youngsters
  • Eight years later they were still functioning well

Copyright 2007-2012 H. DASKEN Mechanical and Technical Innovations. All rights reserved.
Photo credits: Globe photo courtesy of D. Jensen & Associates Ltd; other photos by Hugh Dasken.