Measuring the lifespan of LEGO

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How many times can you put two LEGO pieces together and take them apart again before they wear out? The answer is 37,112. At least that’s the number established by one test case. [Phillipe Cantin] was interested in this peculiar question so he built the test rig above to measure a LEGO’s lifespan.

The hacked together apparatus is pretty ingenious. It uses two servo motors for testing, each driven by the Arduino which is logging the count on an SD card. One of the two white LEGO parts has been screwed onto an arm of the upper servo. That servo presses down onto the mating piece which is sitting inside that yellow band. Look close and you’ll realize the yellow is the handle end of an IC puller. When the post on the lower servo is moved toward one arm of the puller it grips the lower LEGO piece tightly so that the upper servo can pull the two apart. In addition to the assembly and disassembly step there’s a verification step which raises the mated parts so that a reflectance sensor can verify that they’re holding together. [Phillipe] let the rig run for ten days straight before the pieces failed.

Don’t miss his video description of the project after the break.

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Nokia: destroying phones for fun and profit

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No matter how grumpy you are in the morning, this video should make you smile. This is one of the jobs many of us dream of. Take a tour around Nokia’s product testing facility with Engadget. Watch in the video as phones are squashed, pinched, smacked, baked, shaken, dialed, slid, opened, and closed repeatedly. Sure, we don’t get to see any of them obliterated, but it sure is fun to see those machines at work. Each one of these tests will be run until the phones eventually come apart or cease to function. Too bad they didn’t show us that part of it.