We love Lego; whether it’s being launched into space, opening bottles or recreating the Batcave, it’s always awesome. But did you know its talents even include building artificial bone? Cambridge researchers are using it to do just that.
The researchers are using it to automate the extremely repetitive and tedious procedure of building-up artificial bone in the lab. It’s basically just dipping samples into different substances, rinsing and repeating; not something worth wasting a lab monkey's time on when you can automate it.
Normally extremely expensive lab robots, that cost upwards of £5,000 for even basic models, would be used to perform this kind of task. The boffins from Cambridge have commandeered some Lego Mindstorms kits to create their own homebrew robots to do the task just as well, but on-the-cheap.
It’s incredible to think that a humble plastic toy has so much potential that it can even help out in biological research – making bone of all things. Lego itself certainly sees potential for this kind of thing; it’s teamed up with Google for the 2012 Science Fair, so we could see more Lego-powered wonders like this in the near future. Now that really is a better use than chilling and opening beer, only just though.