Totally rad LEGO printer can scan images and create pixellated mosaics with bricks

As a kid, Jason Allemann always loved building stuff with LEGO bricks — but now that he’s an adult, his brick-stacking game is on a whole different level. On his website, JK Brickworks, Allemann showcases his creations, which include things like Gravity Powered Walking LEGO Animals and even a Particle Accelerator constructed out of LEGO.

But his most recent project –a LEGO mosaic printer– is easily the most impressive yet. It’s essentially a cross between a 3D printer, a traditional inkjet printer, and a scanner. Built with a LEGO Mindstorms EV3 set, the machine can scan an image, and then create a mosaic of it.

Bricasso, the LEGO printer.
Bricasso, the LEGO printer. JK Brickworks

The printer is constructed completely out of LEGO parts and prints exclusively with LEGO bricks. The machine uses an EV3 color sensor to scan the source image and saves the data to the Mindstorms unit, which is then used to print multiple copies of the image directly from the scanned image data.

The printing plates used in the printer operate on a gravity-feed system. The printer’s head is basically a 1 x 1 LEGO round plate capable of picking up and placing other plates within the printer. The LEGO printer can hold up 450 plates in up to nine colors.

As you can see in his video demonstration, the first row on the printing plate is referred to as the legend. The legend instructs the program where to pick up the colors that are needed for the image from the printer’s supply.

Initially, Allemann had wanted to scan his desired images and have them pixilated based on the colors of the plates in his supply, but his EV3 color sensor wasn’t advanced enough to handle the task, so he had to work with pre-pixellated images.

Allemann documented his progress in a series of additional videos, where he explains each part of the production process in great detail. He even alludes to an upcoming LEGO-based 3D printer!

Cars

You don’t need to go autonomous to make trucking safer

Long haul truckers are very good at their jobs, but they face long hours and unpredictable conditions. Autonomous tech may be coming, but here’s how lidar technology companies are working to enhance trucking safety today.
Photography

Snap, print, and go: The 8 best portable photo printers

Printing your favorite smartphone pictures on the go is easier than ever with a portable photo printer. They are compact and easy to use, transforming your digital selfies into souvenir.
Photography

Starting a vlog? Here are the best cameras to buy

Any camera that shoots video can be used to vlog, but a few models stand out from the crowd thanks to superior image quality, ergonomics, and usability.
Photography

When you're ready to shoot seriously, these are the best DSLRs you can buy

For many photographers the DSLR is the go-to camera. With large selection of lenses, great low-light performance, and battery endurance, these DSLRs deliver terrific image quality for stills and videos.
Photography

Photo FOMO: Leica Elpro turns plain lenses into macro, Fujifilm Fest returns

In this week's photo industry news, Leica launches a way to turn plain lenses into macro lenses. Artificial Intelligence keeps growing with new uses with Getty Images and the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 camera.
Emerging Tech

Be a master of your own ever-changing ‘galaxy’ with this kinetic wall art

Art Machine is a stunning work of kinetic art that looks like a continuously swirling galaxy or turbulent weather formation viewed through a ship's porthole. Check it out in all its glory.
Emerging Tech

Omega Centauri hosts 10 million stars and probably not an ounce of life

Omega Centauri is about 16,000 light years away, making it visible to the naked eye. And it contains some 10 million stars, making it the largest globular cluster in the Milky Way. But it probably doesn't have an ounce of life.
Emerging Tech

The world’s first practical quantum computer has cash and a timeline

The dream of building a practical quantum computer could be closer than ever, thanks to a $15 million grant from the National Science Foundation to seven universities around the United States.
Emerging Tech

Forget flying cars: This shoe-tying robot is proof that the future is here

Engineering students from the University of California, Davis, recently built a robot whose sole personality in life is to tie shoelaces. It cost them under $600 to do it as well!
Emerging Tech

Bizarre stork robot uses a drone to compensate for its weak, twig-like legs

Developed by engineers from Japan’s University of Tokyo, Aerial Biped is a robot whose top half is comprised of a flying quadrotor UAV that's rooted to the ground by thin stork-like legs.
Emerging Tech

A treasure trove of 3D scientific specimens is now free to see online

Thanks to the California Academy of Sciences, you can access more than 700 scientific specimens and artifacts from the world-class collection via the online 3D and virtual reality platform Sketchfab.
Emerging Tech

Lyd is a battery-powered, ‘no-spill’ bottle that is activated by your lips

Lyd is a battery-powered bottle that’s something like a sippy cup for adults. Its no-spill solution is a specialized lid that uses an algorithm to detect when your lips are on the bottle.
Emerging Tech

Cotton and corn! Reebok’s newest sneaker is ‘made from things that grow’

Keen to move away from using oil-based materials to make its footwear, Reebok has turned to cotton and corn for its latest sneaker. No dyes have been used to color the shoes, either, and the packaging is 100 percent recyclable.
Computing

Apple AR glasses will launch in 2020, says respected industry analyst

Apple AR glasses may be closer to reality than we thought. Here is everything we know so far about the augmented reality system, including the rumored specifications of Apple's Project Mirrorshades.