LEGO Automatons

Here’s a collection of little LEGO oddities. Some of them exhibit a purpose, such as this interesting take on a line-following robot. Others, like the four seen above, are just automatons built to bring a smile to your face through their motion. There are dozens to choose from, with several pictures and a video of each. See the clips of these four after the break. Oh, and don’t worry, we didn’t find any LEGO iPhone docks, just cleaver mobile creations.





[Thanks Richard and Juan]

47 thoughts on “LEGO Automatons

  1. @nave.notnilc I agree its fun, but I have no interest in reading articles about this crap. Hell, I fuck around with legos from time to time but I don’t show them off to people I know because I know they wouldn’t give two shits either. Now if I make something that’s an actual hack, or just some electronics mod, Ill show that to people I know.

  2. As an engineering student I am insulted this even made it on hack-a-day. I already dislike Lego builds, but these are some the most simplistic creations I have seen. I’m unfamiliar with the programming necessary for Lego’s brain, but I can pretty confidently assume that its all button presses and probably no scripting at all.

  3. @josh: Not everyone is at the same uber-l33t level of hacking that you, apparently, are. The name of the site is Hackaday, not Joshaday. No-where have I read anything to suggest that they are working to make sure that every single post they make is entertaining to you, personally. You could always do what rational, well adjusted, people do when they encounter an article that doesn’t interest them, ignore it and read something else.

  4. @colecoman1982 I think josh was simply trying to convey that fact that this doesn’t show a lot of interest in a majority of the readers. You can kind of tell because the number of comments on Lego “hacks” are usually pretty low. I think I even saw one or two that didn’t have a single comment. And it is in the Hack-a-day writers interest to appeal to the widest audience possible.

    P.S. Don’t relegate this conversations to name calling and assumptions just because someone doesn’t like something. Its called OPINIONS and I think his was valid. Harsh, but valid.

  5. jeez people, grow up. who cares if you didn’t like the article. i don’t moan and bitch every time i read an article about soldering or programing an arduino or whatever the f***, that is way over my head. i take joy from the fact that someone created something, anything really. it’s great that someone made something and wants to show it off. i for one look for inspiration in every article – no matter how simple or complicated it might be.

  6. @Deems: I have an old RCX 2.0 and if you want, you could write programs in C for it and compile. Even the built in scripting language allows for some rather complex behaviours to be programmed. It’s more or less a solid microcontroller with IR, 3 motor drives and 3 sensor-inputs. The NXT even has bluetooth and can communicate with other NXTs, allowing for some really complex stuff… all builds I have seen haven’t used all that functionality though. I still wait for an NXT controlled bot that scans the environment (using the Ultrasound distance measurement sensor) and learns how to move within it without colliding with anything.

  7. if you don’t like it shut up and scroll down. you can burn that calorie. Just because they are colorful plastic doesn’t make them ultimate engineering and design tools. In a perfect world you could model a prototype and have all the gears and brackets always line up in any configuration. This benefits the mind in all the ways concurrent with hacking and engineering for one. I learned a lot from lego, and if this doesn’t go here maybe we should ditch software that models circuits too…

  8. “I still wait for an NXT controlled bot that scans the environment (using the Ultrasound distance measurement sensor) and learns how to move within it without colliding with anything.”

    I’m kinda working on that…


  9. @Hackaday – You know how Engadget had to shut down their comments system for a few days cos the forums were full of people with serious winter blues, taking their mood out on everybody?
    Perhaps its worth considering shutting down the HaD comments, jeez.
    @Deems & @Josh – its quite simple – if you’re not interested in an article, just skip it. You don’t have to leave arsey comments behind on the forums just cos you’re in a bad mood, and just because its not a popular subject doesn’t mean it should be excluded.
    I for one loved the clever designs, especially the half wheeled one on the end, you just wouldn’t have thought of doing that if it weren’t for some of the pieces in Lego sets, Its clear it has a place in inspiring youngsters into engineering careers, and it can even inspire people into tackling engineering problems.

    Still, I’ve seen far worse articles elsewhere on HaD over the years with less arsey comments attached.

  10. I liked this post. I read had, because i get inspired by novel ways of solving problems. Maybe there wasn’t anything completly new in these creations, but there were a few parts that made me think.
    I really don’t care if they are made out of lego, fisher price, with an arduino or from playdough

  11. @everyone_who_says_dont_comment_if_you_dont_like_it.

    Comments are used by site owners and authors to get a judgment of what people like and dislike. So shut the fuck up if someone expresses their opinion in a respectful way. These comments only went to shit because nobody tries to make a productive conversations, instead almost everyone is on here to one-up each other and show off your superiority. PRESENT YOUR GOD DAMN ARGUMENT PLEASE. ALL I ASK FOR IS A RETORT EXPLAINING WHY YOU DISAGREE. is that too much to ask?

  12. @People who seem to hate on LEGO, I find these projects inspiring, creating a robot, or maybe a program/hack based out of legos is actually great, and makes me want to work with these.

  13. What’s wrong with lego projects? They can be a good way to rough out more complicated projects without spending too much time and money. The second video (with 2 big ring-wheels) gave me some interesting new ideas.

  14. @k0ldBurn I don’t think anyone has a problem with legos. I love legos. But these featured creations are pretty rudimentary. Just search Youtube. There are some crazy creations on there.

  15. @Deems. I know what you mean, there’s nothing really complicated here but it’s kind of inspiring. I wouldn’t have thought of using 2 big ring-wheels like that for a stable(ish) platform.

  16. I love the people that complain about an article on someone elses site! Give them a break! There is only so much one can do with Arduino for fucks sake!

    Seriously though if you don’t like an article here…basicly you have the right to fuck right off.

  17. @complainers
    Go click the link and look at the rest of the site. There are some rather interesting linkages there, for example a surprisingly stable quadruped using a slight phase-offset walking trot.

  18. @ho0d0o/heatgap & EdZ

    Please go back and read ALL of the comments.

    We are all done bitching about the article. Don’t incite another riot. (yes, I probably had a part in the first one)

  19. As a Drafting, Machining, and ElectroMechanical Engineering student I LOVE Legos. They are the cheapest, most versatile way to physically prototype geared and belt driven drive train ideas. They allow almost anyone to experiment with the complicated mechanics usually confined to gearboxes on automotive and other engine-driven devices.

    Another thing I love about Legos is the Mindstorms systems which allow simplistic robotics
    programming which can be then used as a basis for the design and programming of full-scale robots.

  20. Speaking of rudimentary designs vs. inspiration, the half-wheels can get over objects that normal wheels can’t. That’s why they were invented, I guess. I’m no expert on it, but I agree with All_who_gather_inspiration_and_ideas_from_Legos.

    sure, you can post your opinion, (I’m doing it right now), but I personally think that you could be doing much better things with your time than hating on others that are at a lower skill level than you. For example, try teaching them how to do the stuff that you complain they can’t do. Or just shut the “|= |_| < |<" up.

    P.S. I believe you said…
    "These comments only went to shit because nobody tries to make a productive conversations, instead almost everyone is on here to one-up each other and show off your superiority."
    Including you, apparently.

    Apparently, it's too much to ask nicely….

    If you want, here's my email (and yes, I do check it):

  21. Can’t we all just get along 8′)

    I am really looking forward to the the next creation that is specifically made from ALL those items that trigger thoughtless responses. Who will make the ‘duino powered, nerf firing, playdoh adorned,fisher-price hacked camera carrying,lego building, bent circuit screeching, fake steampunk, simple, wasteful, low tech, pink, old hat, overkill _______?

    Gotta love HAD.

    Enjoy. Life is short.

  22. @Deems

    If you didn’t enjoy these robots as an “engineering student” (is that a badge of honour to you or something) perhaps you should go into a different field.

    Also I don’t know what being an engineering student has to do with anything or anyone. Not everyone is a high and mighty “Engineering Student” and could actually benefit from the inspirational mechanics of these robots. Not every hack is about microcontrollers, software and scripting you know.

    I suppose if we made these little walkers fitting to your “Engineering Student” level they would use 37 servos for the movement driven by 5 PLC’s executing 7500 lines of code.

    A little bit of clever mechanics can replace a multitude of microcontrollers, servomotors, actuators etc in an electromechanical system. I’m glad they posted this. As an “engineering student” I think I will learn from this, and that is why I am a better designer.

  23. @Engineer Idiots like you are the reason this conversation keeps driving back to pointless dribble. There were a few moments of productivity then assholes like you who have to let everyone know how “cool” you are bring the damn conversation back to “internet muscle” flexing.

  24. These are interesting, if somewhat whimsical, creations. One thing that I think was missed by most is that they aren’t [programmed] robots, but automata (the title says that, in fact), and their cleverness lies in their simplicity, rather than in a fancy design or hack. Unless I’m mistaken, everything shown above is using strictly mechanical controls, and still pulls off some interesting results, whether from technical or artistic points of view. I agree that it might be a bit OT for Hack a Day, but heck – it’s only one post, and it’s fun for some of us, at least.

  25. I love LEGO’s and the creativity they allow with mechanical design. The models shown are simple but elegant and I thought they were worth posting. The linked sight has more variety for those desiring it. I’m an Electrical Engineering student and as one, I find myself overcomplicating mechanical designs with sensors, steppers, and servos when a good Mechanical Engineer could solve the same problem in a quarter of the parts, saving me computing power and points of failure down the road. Hack a Day can keep on showing these, and LEGO builders, keep on building. I will keep on watching and reading. Now I think I need to find me some LEGO’s.

  26. @T88T

    I never once said that I am cool – but hey if you thought I was trying to be cool, I must have sounded cool for you to think that and get angry about it, which is cool with me :)

    I suppose the “pointless dribble” of clever design will only ever be understood by clever designers and those on their way to being clever designers.

  27. I think shit like this is a requirement in any form of mechanical engineering. Legos spark the imagination. And just about all inventions or ideas came from the imagination.
    Ex:”What would happen if i rubbed these sticks together for 3 hours?” – Caveman

  28. hehehehehe….

    Going to the HAD home page = 1 google ads points.

    Clicking through to rad an article = 1 google ads point.

    Refreshing the page after you post a comment = 1 google ads point.

    You may not see the point of it, but some of the most rubbish posts here on HAD generate LOTS of comments. I think a recent arduino had 69 comments of very negative views. But thats still google ads points which = WIN for HAD.

    I liked the last one, I’m not an engineer so it was novel to see the idea of using those pieces to construct working wheels.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.