A LEGO builder has created an automated robot that could conceivably build its way to outer space.
Combinations can be tricky. Take robots and LEGO, for instance. When I think of robots I think of chrome-plated death machine with Austrian accents trying to kill me. LEGO, contrastingly, brings to memory boyhood construction sessions filled with smiles, laughter and a whole lot of medieval murder and betrayal (I got a lot of mileage out of that castle set). My mind just doesn't place the two naturally together. Even so, talented builders have proven on more than a few occasions that robotics and LEGO don't just make good bedfellows, they make great ones.
Take, for instance, the work of Hknssn (probably not their real name) who recently posted a video to YouTube of an automated LEGO robot that can build its own tower. Dubbing it "the LEGO space elevator," Hknssn's creation has the ability to stack pre-made building blocks that are fed to it along a pair of conveyors. What's most impressive about this is the fact that the design technically has no upper limit. As long as it has materials, it can keep building.
Which isn't to say it doesn't have limitations. Setting aside obvious things like space, materials and power, the current design doesn't move at the fastest clip. By Hknssn's own calculations its top speed is a mere .533 centimeters per second. In turn, it would take it more than 33 days to build a contender to topple the current record holder for tallest LEGO tower (36 meters), and a whopping 7,432 years to reach the limits of outer space. Even so, I'm personally left wondering at the viability of creating a larger version for things like actual construction work. Granted, the contractors of the world might not appreciate losing their jobs when robots start building our skyscrapers, but I'm sure even they'd be able to appreciate the awesome factor involved.