Category: lego

New Lego-Inspired Electronics Could Make the Field More Accessible and Efficient

High-Tech Legos

As satirically demonstrated by Derek Zoolander with his minuscule cell phone, a lot of technological advancements are emerging in tiny packages. And, while this is not always the case, when technologies are downsized, there exists a host of logistical issues. One such difficulty is in aligning and piecing together tiny electrical components. This level of accuracy and precision can be impossible for human hands and even difficult for robot digits. So, to creatively remedy this persisting problem, a team of researchers, led by Muhammad M. Hussain at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia, developed a way to convert integrated circuits into “Lego-electronics.”

As with the popular building block toys, this new development hinges on a basic lock-and-key design. A design that is so simple and easy to piece together that, in the study, a blindfolded participant could assemble the technology. They demonstrated this technology and its ease of use in an upcoming issue of Advanced Materials Technologies.

Image Credit: Shaikh et al. ©2017 Wiley-VCH
Image Credit: Shaikh et al. ©2017 Wiley-VCH

Simpler, More Effective Design

While this technology has been demonstrated to be simple and easy to assemble by hand, robots will most likely take on a large percentage of this work. So, what’s so important about this design?

One major aspect of this improvement is that it could create a space in the electronics industry for the visually-impaired or who have dexterity issues. This could create job opportunities for them as well as give them the ability to build their own electronics where they might not have been able to before.

The Evolution of Brain-Computer Interfaces [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

Additionally, this could make manufacturing easier, faster, and reduce the rate of failure of micro-scale connections. The design is simple, but it is sound, and because the connection between each piece is so straight-forward, there is a minimized room for error.

According to Hussain, “The demonstration decisively increases throughput and yield in CMOS manufacturing systems, especially the emerging area of flexible electronic system production…By providing geometrical identities to modules, we have demonstrated that a blind person can also assemble it, which may lead to the disruption in employment of blind personnel in the manufacturing and fabrication industry—traditionally believed to have no room for blind individuals.”

The post New Lego-Inspired Electronics Could Make the Field More Accessible and Efficient appeared first on Futurism.

LEGO Just Hit Their 100% Renewable Energy Goal 3 Years Ahead of Schedule

Environmental Master Builders

The LEGO Group has built the world’s largest wind turbine out of its popular little bricks. The company didn’t just do it to land a Guinness World Records title, though. The LEGO wind turbine was how the toy company chose to celebrate reaching its energy target of being powered 100 percent by renewable sources three years ahead of schedule.

The effort was four years in the making and involved two offshore wind farm investments worth DKK 6 billion (roughly $904 million). The completion and opening on May 17 of the 258-megawatt Burbo Bank Extension wind farm — 25 percent of which is owned by KIRKBI A/S, LEGO’s parent company — helped LEGO achieve its target.

“We work to leave a positive impact on the planet, and I am truly excited about the inauguration of the Burbo Bank Extension wind farm. This development means we have now reached the 100% renewable energy milestone three years ahead of target,” said LEGO Group CEO Bali Padda in a press release. “Together with our partners, we intend to continue investing in renewable energy to help create a better future for the builders of tomorrow.”

One Piece at a Time

LEGO joins the growing number of companies — including Intel, Kohl’s, Walmart, and Apple — already making huge strides toward the goal of 100 percent independence from non-renewable sources of energy. Tech giants like Google and Microsoft are also racing to becoming more dependent on renewables. In fact, the RE100 global initiative includes 96 of these committed companies.

Renewable Energy Sources Of The Future [Infographic]
Click to View Full Infographic

Private institutions aren’t the only ones striving for cleaner energy, though, as a number of nations are also determined to meet their clean energy goals. Despite the United States’ controversial decision to extract itself from the Paris Agreement, individual states remain firm in their commitments to renewable energy.

Just like building with LEGO bricks, independence from fossil fuels starts with one piece at a time, growing bigger as those pieces come together. The popular children’s brand hopes that their example will inspire young people to do their part in the future. “We see children as our role models, and as we take action in reducing our environmental impact as a company, we will also continue to work to inspire children around the world by engaging them in environmental and social issues,” said Padda.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated. Previous versions listed the incorrect USD conversion. 

The post LEGO Just Hit Their 100% Renewable Energy Goal 3 Years Ahead of Schedule appeared first on Futurism.

Five Female Space Pioneers Are Being Immortalized as Lego Figures

Lego is listening to its customers, and they’re asking for more female figures. Every year the toy manufacturer hosts the Lego Ideas competition to turn fan suggestions into reality. This year, the event yielded Women in NASA, an inspiring lego set for young women everywhere.

The set’s release coincides with the Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures, which highlights the work of NASA mathematician and space scientist Katherine Johnson, a female African-American who served as a “human calculator” for trajectory calculations in the Mercury and Apollo programs. Given the film’s acclaim, it’s not surprising to see a Lego model of Johnson featured in the set.

The other four models include:

  • Sally Ride — The first American woman in space in 1983
  • Nancy Grace Roman — Called the “Mother of Hubble,” for her role in the development of the Hubble Telescope
  • Margaret Hamilton — For her work in developing the onboard software for the Apollo
  • Mae Jemison — Who became first African-American woman to enter space in 1992 aboard the Endeavor

Thanks to the proposal of Maia Weinstock, a science writer and deputy editor at MIT news, and the 10,000 people who supported her proposal, we will be able to purchase Lego Women in NASA kits later this year.

Each kit will be ready to inspire the next generation of women to enter the sciences. Watch below to witness the proposal get selected.

The post Five Female Space Pioneers Are Being Immortalized as Lego Figures appeared first on Futurism.