LEGO at World Maker Faire

Posted: October 19, 2016 in LEGO, News
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LEGO was all over World Maker Faire! Besides FIRST LEGO League, LEGO was a common sight. LEGO provides a flexible building platform and Makers love LEGO. While it might not ship in a final project, the iconic, modular bricks provides an unmatched ease of use for prototyping. This has been one of my favorite posts to write, showing off all the awesome creations of the community! Follow me after the break to check out more of the LEGO sights of World Maker Faire 2016!

Unlike years past, LEGO did not have an official booth, but the LEGO Users Group (LUG) ILUGNY was out in force! There were some impressive MINDSTORMS Models at the booth.

First up is the one and only Builderdude35 and his Grunt!  If you’re a MINDSTORMS fan and you haven’t heard of Builderdude35, you must be living under rock. Besides being an awesome ROBOT MAK3R, a FIRST LEGO League alumni, and current FIRST Tech Challenge competitor, he publishes weekly YouTube tutorials on LEGO MINDSTORMS. You can check out his channel here.  The Grunt is an interactive robot, responding to different color blocks placed in its mouth. A popular and robust robot, he was a crowd favorite.

Next up is the Droids you have been looking for. Maybe you’ve heard of the Seshan brothers? They only run one of the most popular EV3 resources on the internet: EV3Lessons.com! Bringing a voting booth, a memory game, and the iconic PIX3L PLOTT3R, Arvind and Sanjay were busy! Besides their AW3SOME robots, the minifi top hats are a huge hit! Making is about creativity and sharing ideas. From their fusion of head coverings and LEGO to a Raspberry Pi powered LEGO printer, the Seshan brothers are true makers!

Of course, it wouldn’t be a MINDSTORMS event with out the man, the myth, the legend: Marc-Andre Bazergui. While the photo below features Baz checking out Jon’s amazing MINDSTORMS bird bots, Baz also embraced the maker spirit.

3D printers are a staple at Maker Faire. While some have micron precision, this one is just fun! Fusing an inexpensive 3D doodling pen and some LEGO parts, this robot was a huge hit. Printing different shapes as well as some text, these bots are not the fastest, not the most accurate, not the most flexible, not the cheapest, 3D printers on the market. BUT these bots are something anyone can make and learn a lot about how a 3D printer works. With multiple sensors, motors, and some complex control code, this is an excellent example of CNC control. Baz is pretty clever in how he determines the position of both the printer head and the build platform. Baz’s 3D PRINT3R is truly a unique creation the pushes the boundaries of what can be achieves with an inexpensive robotics kit. Who knows, one day you might make a true LEGO reprap! How cool would it be to print your own LEGO MINDSTORMS 3D PRINT3R from another LEGO MINDSTORMS 3D PRINT3R! The possibilities with LEGO MINDSTORMS are endless!

Outside the ILUGNY booth, LEGO was also popular. Wandering around the booths for various Makerspaces, the Seshan brothers and myself stumbled upon these creations. The first picture features an LEGO elevator, controlled with an NXT. The second picture features a crane. While there is clearly a mix of parts into this creation, the brains of the operation look familiar!

Who likes going to the hospital? Even for a checkup, it can be a scary experience. The machines are so big and complex. You don’t understand all the medical lingo. I completely understand why kids might be afraid. Victor is trying to change that. As a healthcare professional, he mixes work and play to explain what is going on. Victor created these awesome LEGO models of medical machines to help kids understand how they work. I first met Victor a few years ago at Maker Faire and I am a huge fan of his work. His accurate, minfig scale models, aid him in relating to children. I cant wait to see what else he makes. Maker health is an exploding new field!

Healthcare is expensive. Lowering the cost of treating patients and reaching undeserved are constant challenges. The Maker Health movement is hoping to fix that. By encouraging making, society is making advances in both the delivery and treatment of patients around the world.

Part of that treatment comes in the form of therapy. After major surgery, recovery can be a slow, frustrating process. Making can help patients recover motor skills or find a way to express themselves, inside a dull hospital. Some hospitals have even begun to create Makerspaces. LEGO is a natural part of many maker projects. The photo below is just a sample of how LEGO can be integrated into maker kits for those in hospitals!

Wandering around, I also found some “more than MINDSTORMS” robots. While LEGO MINDSTORMS is a great starting point, sometimes you need the horsepower of a Raspberry Pi, or the flexibility to create your own sensor. The photos below are just a small same of the LEGO robots I encountered!

That wraps up my World Maker Faire 2016 coverage! Just in time, too! Maker Faire Orlando is this weekend and I will be there with FIRST! If you’re in the area, stop by and check out the awesome robots!

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