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Watch the Most Amazing Lego Contraption Ever [Video]

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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Two years ago we featured an incredible video of the Antikythera Mechanism—an ancient Greek computing device found in a shipwreck in 1901—made entirely out of Legos. The Antikythera Mechanism calculated the positions of astronomical bodies with extraordinary precision.

This machine, by contrast, moves little plastic balls around for no particular reason. But, my goodness:


The machine took 600 hours to make and moves the balls around a 31-meter-long pathway. It’s loosely associated with the Great Ball Contraption project, a community dedicated to “Lego Technic or Mindsorms creations that all have a single task in mind—moving balls around! That’s it. However you want to do this is entirely up to you.” This contribution, by YouTube user Akiyuki, was two years in the making, according to his Web site.

via Fast Company Design

About the Author: Michael Moyer is the editor in charge of space and physics coverage at Scientific American. Follow on Twitter @mmoyr.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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  1. 1. And Then What? 6:59 pm 09/29/2012

    My first thought when I was watching this thing was: This kind of reminds me of some of the people I used to work with. They made a lot of noise and seemed to be moving around but at the end of the day they accomplished zero productivity.
    Then my scientific mind thought: well it looks a lot like a visual example of the Quantum World full of seemingly random motion influenced by outside forces that can be described on one level by saying there are many balls flying around, but I cannot tell you with certainty, that a certain ball, is at a certain point, at a certain time, with any degree of certainty.

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  2. 2. heinemannak 7:11 pm 09/30/2012

    When I first saw this I had three initial thoughts a) this is why the word is running out of oil, b) this person has entirely too much time on their hands, and c) its kind cool ,but…

    As for my first thought, this exercise / demonstration, or whatever you might call it just exemplifies to me how much junk we make with are valuable resources.

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  3. 3. Don Quixote 9:02 am 10/6/2012

    OK, are those “off the shelf” Legos, are was it a customed designed set? I’m seeing a lot of seriously specialized parts. The website might have an explanation, but it’s all in Japanese.

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