Have you ever played with LEGOs when you were a child? I’m sure you’ve spent hours and hours creating cities, spaceships and other constructions. And the thing is that these blocks have brought us more than hours of entertainment, they’ve also brought quite a bit of teaching and a lot of learning power.
LEGO has proved to encourage creativity and help three-dimensional thinking. It improves communication and critical thinking and it’s the beginning Mathematics, Geometry and Engineering. But probably the best part is that one time purchase means years and years of fun.
You don’t have to be a young child to enjoy LEGOs. If you feel like going back to the game, you can still try some of these creations. My favorite #2, yours?
1. James May’s LEGO Home
Although it’s been recently demolished, this was my favorite piece of LEGO built so far. The two-story Lego palace was located in the middle of a vineyard and had a working bathroom. James used bricks pieced together by 272 LEGOs. Over three million bricks were used so that’s about 816 million Lego pieces. Quite an amazing job. Read more here.
2. Bluetooth LEGO Car
Android + Bluetooth + Arduino + Lego + RC servo & motor – car / robot, that’s all you’ll need for creating this design. If you want to see how it works, check this video. The hardware is the coolest part because you get to do what ever you want as a car. Feeling like making one? Here is some help in the coding part 🙂
Now time for the bigger car version. The model was built in 2004, it weighs 2,934 pounds and is made of 201,076 LEGO bricks. The Model Shop team at LEGOLAND California played a prank on General Manager Peter Ronchetti: They replaced his Volvo XC60 with a life-sized LEGO model of an XC90, video here. Sadly, it wasn’t a working model! Read more here.
Before the day of computers and pocket calculators all mathematics was done by hand, until the difference engine got designed. A difference engine is an automatic mechanical calculator designed to tabulate polynomial functions. Modeled after Babbages Difference Engine #,1 this machine can evaluate polynomials of the form Ax^2 + Bx + C for x=0, 1, 2, …n with 3 digit results. Read more here.
In 2012 Lego celebrated 50 years in Japan with this incredible model of the country built by 5,000 people using 1.8m bricks. People of all ages gathered to play their part in constructing a 3D map of the island nation. The project, titled Build Up Japan, encompassed a cross-country workshop that spanned six different regions. The collaborators worked on individual installations in various locations throughout the country. Read more here.
6. LEGO Lie Detector
Michael Gasperi‘s “Galvanic Skin Response Sensor” aka lie detector it’s made from an RCX control brick, foil-lined velcro strips, and 9V wire. Gasperi’s lie detector works on the principal that people sweat more when they’re fibbing, so his device measures the skin’s electrical resistance. The theory is that; the more relaxed you are the dryer your skin is and so the higher the skin’s electrical resistance. When you are under stress your hand sweats and then the resistance goes down. Read more here.
7 . LEGO Harpsichord
With the exception of the wire strings, this instrument is entirely constructed out of LEGO parts: the keyboard, jacks, jack rack, jack rail, plectra, soundboard, bridge, hitch pins, tuning pins, wrestplank, nut, case, legs, lid, lid stick, and music stand are all built out of interlocking ABS (Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene) plastic bricks and related pieces. And is playable. Now you want to play it right? Read more here.
8. LEGO Mechanical Loom Machine
I was pretty impressed by this one. Displayed at the Fanabriques 2012 LEGO exhibition during June 2012, Nico71’s Lego loom uses only one motor! A lever rotates on the primary shaft and makes contact with a cam one time per revolution. When this cam is pushed, it pulls on a rod which operates the main pushed system (green beam). Read more here.
For a Carrier air conditioning convention held in 2007, LEGO artist extraordinaire Nathan Sawaya built a functioning air conditioner out of LEGO bricks! Built as a functioning replica of Carrier’s newest air conditioner, complete with the compressor, valves and working fan. It took him to days to built it but how cool is it? Read more here.
You can play it almost as a real guitar, by stroking a single string, sliding your finger on the fretless neck, and bending notes using the tremolo bar! The fact that this instrument is playable at all is something of an achievement. If you feel like designing a smaller version check this.