Also, take a look at contraption, which scans any object and determines the kind and color of LEGO pieces necessary to make a LEGO version of it as similar in appearance to the original object as possible. If that doesn’t scare you, well… Guess we’ll just see you in the slave mines when our LEGO overlords inevitably take over the planet.
By using LEGO MindStorms software, Andreas Dreier created the Cube Replicator, which actually sounds more like a throwaway gadget from an old movie than an awe-inspiring device of massive humanity-enslaving potential. The machine scans LEGO cubes made out of different-colored bricks, analyzes them, and then proceeds to make exact copies of them using the same components.
Daniel Shiu and I worked on this as a joint project after we finished our rendition of Escher's "Ascending and Descending", making it our fourth Escher picture rendered in LEGO. Once again, no camera tricks, but the picture has to be taken from exactly the right place, and boy did we get tired of trying to find where that place was. The whole thing took five or six evenings spread over two or three weeks. Most of the last evening was taken up with setting up the lighting the way we wanted it and trying to get the camera position just right...
The original Escher picture (Relativity, 1953. Lithograph) is shown on the right for comparison.
Unlike many of Escher's other "impossible" pictures (like "Ascending and Descending") , there is actually no optical illusion involved here. Gravity seems to be working in three different directions simultaneously, but the picture shows a perfectly self-consistent physical scene. So modelling it should certainly be feasible. But while Escher's picture has three different "up"s, LEGO isn't quite so flexible...
For LEGO afficionados, the most significant thing about our version is the widespread use of SNOT ("Studs not on top") techniques - in plain English, having the LEGO studs pointing in lots of different directions. There are various tricks for making this work in general, and we probably used all of them here. You can find some of the details in the construction pictures.
What’s the point of a gigantic LEGO ball contraption, you ask? Why not make something practical, like perhaps a LEGO business phone, or a LEGO laptop? Well, if you feel the need to ask in the first place, that only means you’re . Come on, It’s a gigantic LEGO ball contraption. What’s not to like about that? Seriously, just watch and tell me that this doesn’t fill you with a warm, fuzzy feeling inside.
Guns are already inherently cool, but guns made out of LEGO? That’s like making a salad made out of bacon, cheese, and more bacon – not a good idea, but an undeniably awesome one that everyone else will want to imitate. Sebastian Dick came up with the idea to make a minigun out of – you guessed it – LEGO, and the result is a colorful 8-barrel powerhouse that shoots rubber bands at an approximate speed of 11 bands per second. That’s not the only “real” LEGO gun in existence, either; in fact, there are enough of them in real life to make the Punisher happy. Jack Streat has made fully functional and presumably – hopefully – non-lethal versions of submachine guns, rifles, and pistols, which should probably make anyone think twice about bullying LEGO nerds from now on.