Building Sand Castles Is Less Frustrating When You Let a Robot Do It

What if there was a way to enjoy a day at the beach no matter the season or weather outside? California-born artist Jonathan Schipper may have just come up with the perfect solution: An art installation inside a gallery featuring a hot tub standing in for the ocean, and tons of salt doubling as sand.

The installation is called Salt Machine because in addition to serving as a private beach, visitors can build sand—or salt—castles without ever having to leave the warmth of the hot tub. A mechanism suspended and controlled by four cables attached to motorized pulleys can reach all corners of the gallery, occasionally stopping to craft crude castles, layer by layer, like a 3D printer.

The giant printer can actually extrude crude representations of almost any object, but we can't let go of the romanticized notion of being able to spend a day at the beach, all year round, without ever going outside. Now if only the Salt Machine could squeeze out suntan lotion as well. [Jonathan Schipper via designboom]