A true Lego enthusiast like Apple software engineer Andrew Carol can build wonders it seems. After watching Martin Scorsese’s Hugo movie, he started building a mysterious automaton machine as he saw in the movie out of Lego blocks and made a prototype that used Lego chains to move a pen over paper in two dimensions. However, he did not finish it until last November, when he got the “itch” to finish it by working weekends and during the holidays, having it done by Thanksgiving.
The automaton machine was not the first, nor the last of Andrew’s contraptions. He has also built a Babbage Difference Engine and an Antikythera Mechanism, also called an Eclipse Predictor. All of his work can be viewed on his web page here.
While Carol’s machine works slowly, it can be programmed to draw images using a complicated chain of plastic blocks, according to Fast Co Design. And while the machine is elaborate, Carol doesn’t like hearing it compared to the designs of Rube Goldberg.
“Rube Goldberg machines were intentionally designed to be overly complicated ways to solve simple problems,” he says. “My machines are as simple as possible within the constraint of being purely mechanical and using Lego parts.”