Lego - not just for children?


Aug 06, 2014 by Smart Insurance Blog

To parents throughout much of the world, Lego is that plastic stuff with raised studs on, perfect either for bonding with one's offspring during a shared construction project and/or for inflicting a painful injury when stepped on inadvertently. Yes, since the mid twentieth century, parents and children across the world have been bonding through the use of those brightly coloured plastic bricks.

Indeed, Lego seems to be going through something of a resurgence at the moment, and it may be difficult to believe that the Lego company actually went through a major decline between 1992 and 2004, to the extent that it suffered losses of tens of millions of pounds back in 1998.

Now, following a company re-structuring and a resurgence of interest in the product the world seems to be going Lego crazy; even adults are using it. Adults, of course, are far less sensible than children when it comes to toys and hobbies, and so it has proven with Lego. Otherwise respectable grown-ups are now making all sorts of things from Lego, some useful, some less so, some just bizarre or silly. What follows are some of the most interesting projects.


A Lego House

Television presenter James May, apparently not satisfied with presenting Top Gear, turned his attentions to Lego and, with the help of 1,200 volunteers, built a full size and completely habitable house out of the stuff. Unfortunately, it was far too big and heavy to move anywhere, and had to be dismantled. History does not record what happened to the 3.3 million Lego bricks involved.

Legoland Windsor does have a model of St Paul's Cathedral, and even a London Eye made of Lego, but neither of these are full size and involve mere 'thousands' of bricks, so they cannot really compete with the, now sadly defunct, house.


A Working Microscope

In July 2014, news broke that an enterprising artist had built a fully functional microscope out of Lego. The creation, which can zoom to 10X using magnifying glasses, adjustable controls and fibre optic light, may in time be marketed as an official Lego set.


Musical Instruments That Actually Work

Lego enthusiast Henry Lim has built a fully functional harpsichord, with a 61-note range, almost entirely out of Lego. In fact the only parts of this instrument that are not made of Lego are the strings.

It seems that Mr Lim is not alone in his dedication to blending music and Lego. Other working instruments created from the bricks, by other Lego lovers, include a guitar and bass, a ukulele, a cello and, for the technology fans, a working synthesiser.


Pinball Machines

In The Netherlands, two Lego-obsessed designers have taken advantage of the Lego Mindstorm range (which can be programmed via computer to perform simple functions) to aid construction of a working pinball machine. It contains more than 22,000 Lego bricks, with a little added glass and, of course, steel pinballs.

So it seems that Lego presents the perfect opportunity for people of all ages to challenge and stretch their construction abilities. Now, who is going to construct the world's first full size, fully functioning and road legal Lego car before the end of the school holidays? Watch out - it might happen sooner than you think!