Modular Odyssey – LEGO

Loved by both kids and adults, the LEGO is one of the most popular toys in the world. Millions of bricks are sold each month. It is estimated that by the year 2019 there will be more LEGO Minifigures in the world than people.  The LEGO is a phenomenon.

And I have to say that I am glad it is like that. The system of LEGO is spectacular. It is a relatively simple concept. Moulded plastic bricks which interlock with one another. One would say nothing special. However, the possibilities this concept unlocks are endless. And that is why the LEGO is the leader. For young developing minds of children, this is a blessing. They are improving both their imagination and motoric skills. For the smallest children, there is a Duplo line, which features bigger bricks. Followed by LEGO Juniors with easy builds for the youngest, then Creator and other. End the spectrum ends with Architecture and bigger models from Creator line or Technic line, those are suitable for older children and for adults as well.  Everyone can find the interest of their own and if not, they can just build whatever they want. And then disassemble it and build again. Your imagination is your boundary.

And since this post is part of Modular odyssey. I would like to show the most iconic brick. This is a basic 2×4 brick. The measurment in the LEGO world is the stud. This red brick has 2 by 4 studs. The module height of each brick is 9,6 mm and base of each stud measures 8 by 8 mm. This gives the brick the height to length ratio of exactly 6:5.

Slimmer bricks are called plates. They are 1/3 of a brick high. That is 3,2 mm. Therefore if there are three on top of each other, they have the height of the basic module.


The bottom part of a LEGO brick. The three holes in the middle are called tubes.

Because of them it is possible not only to place other brick or plate on the edge according to the module.

But you can also create an offset in two directions. That is an example of advanced building techniques. And there are many more of them.

But are the possibilities really endless? Søren Eilers from the University of Copenhagen made a computer algorhytmn, which task was to count the number of possible combinations of arranging six basic 2×4 bricks. The number is 915,103,765. Therefore given only six most iconic and basic LEGO bricks, the possibilities are endless to human perception. And most of the LEGO sets contain hundreds of pieces. It is impossible to imagine what could be built with those numbers. And yet, there are employees of LEGO who do exactly this. They have access to  myriad of LEGO pieces in many possible shapes and many colours and their job is to invent new LEGO sets, since each LEGO set is only produced for a limited amount of time. There are many new sets each year and many are retired each year. And each of these sets is because there was an idea, how to limit this near-infinite amount of possibilities to create a representation of some particular theme.

Do you have a secrete LEGO stash somewhere? I do!

Happy assembling

Ondrej

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