Need This New Invention? The First Full-Size Lego Car That Runs!
It is the sort of thing little kids dream of -- making something real from their Lego building blocks. Australian entrepreneur Steve Sammartino and Romanian Raul Oaida, a self-taught tech guy, met online via Skype and together came up with the idea to build a real, working car out of Lego bricks. They turned to funding their project, called , through crowd-sourcing. The result was a life-size car that runs on compressed air.
The bright yellow and black hot rod was built in Romania and then shipped to Melbourne, Australia, for a test drive. They were concerned that their Lego engine might explode, so they drove it very slowly. Even if they hadn't the top speed of the car is only about 12-18 mph. The project reportedly cost $60,000.
Actually there are 4 orbital engines and 256 pistons to power the car. The wheels and some load-bearing elements had to depart from the use of Lego bricks, but the vast majority of the car is made of the toy blocks. It took half a million of them to complete the project.
In a fun bit of vanity, Sammartino and Oaida created their portraits in Lego bricks for the back wheel covers. There are even racing stripes down the sides of the hot rod.
Sammartino said that inventing is not always so much about creating new technology. It is often more about finding ways to creatively repurpose existing technology. "That's where the real power is," he said. In this case, he considers the car proof that more environmentally friendly products can be created.
Lego blocks were patented in January of 1958 and came onto the market in that year. Those first blocks produced can still be used with the blocks made today. The bricks have been used to make everything from toy houses to Mount Rushmore. Several Legoland locations around the world show off many designs that have been created over the years.
The hot rod was not the first attempt at Lego technology for Sammartino and Oaida. They also built a small space shuttle out of the bricks and in 2011 they tried launching it into space. It achieved an altitude of 35,000 meters before crashing back to Earth in a snow-covered field in Germany, not far from where it had been launched. Oaida retrieved it using GPS coordinates. That was the second try.
On the first try their shuttle blew up into thousands of pieces because it couldn't withstand the pressure of going into space. For the second try Sammartino added a secret ingredient -- super glue.
There is no word yet on what Sammartino and Oaida will be up to next -- or where they will take the car next.