Robots are always really cool, if you ask me. Sometimes they're made out of Legos, and that's even cooler.
The Papercube, previously called the Legomaschine, is a fully automated Lego "factory" created by students in the Management, Information, and Technology program at Germany's Jade Hochschule (Jade University). This is a scale model of an actual production line, complete with Lego workers overseeing the process.
The machine, a work-in-progress since mid-2015, takes a small piece of paper and runs it through a series of processes that manipulate it into a paper cube. Check out the entire system in action below.
This project was made using LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3, a toolkit designed by Lego to encourage science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (aka STEM) in schools.
The kit includes an EV3 Intelligent Brick, which is a small computer capable of controlling hardware and collecting data. This brick analyzes a program created by the students in Java and commands the robot to perform certain actions such as moving the paper down the line or using a laser to perforate where the folds will occur.
Showing off the action GIF-style, the paper enters the production line where it will be transported from chamber to chamber.
The paper is then perforated by a laser to outline the shape the cube will eventually take. As the laser moves, it traces the lines that will be used as break-in points during the folding process. The laser is enclosed in a protective, orange casing to protect the eyes of anyone watching this process firsthand from radiation.
Next, the perforated paper is moved from the laser's chamber to the next step in the assembly line. Here, a small arm will punch the center of the paper down, creating the first fold and the bottom of the cube.
Once the arm pushes down and creates the initial shape, smaller arms will fold the sides of the cube up while the larger arm holds the bottom in place.
As the last step in the folding process, adhesive is applied and two levers fold over the remaining sides to seal the cube closed. Once the process is completed, one last arm flips the finished cube out of the machine into a circle of "workers" waiting to see the finished product.
This project is pretty amazing and the students did great work, but it's all in a day's work for the men and women at the paper cube factory.
You can read more about the project at Papercube's website, and follow its Facebook page.
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