Lego Mindstorm Robots Become Lab Assistants
LEGO, an abbreviation of two Danish words LEg GOdit (play well), has come a long way since its founder Ole Kirk Kristiansen invented the first brick in his small carpenter's workshop in 1932. While the foundation still remains the original brick, the things that can be built with them now range from simple structures to fully programmable robots - Ones smart enough to help scientists perform monotonous tasks in laboratories.
The idea of building robots from an off-the-shelf LEGO Mindstorms kit came about in the research laboratories of England's CambridgeUniversity where a team of scientists is currently conducting experiments to create bones that can someday be used for medical implants and possibly also, as a building material.
While the end result could prove exciting, getting to it involves the mundane task of taking a solid object like a bolt and dipping it first in a dish of calcium and protein, rinsing it with water and then dipping it in a dish of phosphate and protein - Then repeating the whole process many many times before each artificial bone specimen is ready.
That's when Mechanical Engineering PhD student Daniel Strange, came up with the brilliant idea of creating robots from LEGO MINDSTORMS pieces and letting them take care of this boring job, so that the lab assistants can use their energy for more exciting experiments.
The best part is that these unpaid employees who only 'eat' battery and need no sleep, do not have to keep regular hours. Instead, they work all night so that by the time the scientists arrive in the morning, the bone samples all ready for testing. We bet Ole Kirk Kristiansen would have never envisioned that his little brick toy would one day be a key contributor to cutting-edge research!
Resource : Gizmag.com