Human Media Lab takes Lego to the next level

From For more than half a century, Lego building blocks have sparked the imaginations of both children and adults across the globe, helping to transform imaginative concepts into concrete (or, more accurately, plastic) reality. Now, thanks to a collaboration between Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada and Lego Creative Play Lab, Lego’s bricks are finding their way into a new dimension.

By applying passive markers to colored Lego bricks, researchers at Queen’s Human Media Lab (HML) are able to create a flying robotic swarm capable of mimicking the movement and placement of specific Lego bricks. To demonstrate this, HML created a flexible, gyroscopic controller that looked like a butterfly. Users could then place red, green or blue bricks on the butterfly controller, and small quadcopter drones with matching colors flew into the air in a formation exactly matching the layout on the controller. Users could then turn, flip or bend the controller and the drones would mimic the movements in real-time.

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