Here's what happens when a Steampunk vision meets LEGO geekery: An elaborate machine full of gears that automatically writes and draws to your specifications. Just turn the crank.
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This hand-cranked automaton is the brainchild of Apple engineer and LEGO enthusiast Andrew Carol, whose complex machine can write messages or draw simple pictures with a colored pen. Carol was inspired to create it after watching the movie "Hugo," which featured a mysterious automaton, John Pavlus reported on Co.Design.
If you're looking for fast functionality, this isn't it. The machine doesn't use computers, motors or electronics, Carol explained on his website. Instead, programming is stored on a series of LEGO "chains." A narrow chain link means "true" or "do something" and a wide link means "false" or "do nothing." Those chains are read using a reciprocating fork mechanism and decoded into pen strokes for the plotter.
Conveying a message or completing a doodle takes a while but the automaton isn't quite as ridiculous as a Rube Goldberg machine. It's not intentionally arduous, just slow.