#3. Guns (and Yes, They Really Shoot)
After a robot and an effigy of the mean kid on the block, a gun is usually the third thing a kid with a box of random LEGO bricks makes. More often than not, the "gun" is nothing more than a long brick attached to a stack of smaller ones and requires the builder to make gun noises with his mouth. But if he works hard and devotes his whole life to increasingly elaborate/dangerous LEGO projects, maybe he can come up with this Gatling gun rubber band shooter.
Here it is in action, unleashing 104 rubber bands in a hellish, stinging fury.
And 104 pieces of LEGO shrapnel if you don't snap them tight enough.
As menacing as this is, at least it has some element of innocent, childish fun to it. Meanwhile, another guy made a LEGO replica of a Heckler & Koch UMP 45 submachine gun, which carries a 15-round magazine and has a folding stock. It actually shoots the bricks from the clip, in case you're interested in maiming and confusing your victims at the same time.
The scope on this one really helps thread the gap between the floor and your dad's bare foot.
Oh, and this is only one of the many, many lifelike guns this guy makes. So if you want to get banned from the airport but don't have the background credentials necessary to get a real gun, check out Jack Streat's work.
"NERF can suck it."
#2. A Cloning Device
The good news with everything on the list so far is that there's probably no danger of the LEGO machines becoming sentient and taking over the world. That part of the story is over, because someone has foolishly invented a LEGO replicator. Using the aforementioned Mindstorm software, the machine scans LEGO cubes made from different LEGO bricks, then uses its brainpower to make the exact same cube. That's right -- it's a LEGO creation that builds LEGO creations. We are through the looking glass, people.
"Why the fuck does this thing keep calling me 'Dave'?"
Here's the software trying to decide if it wants to rebuild the cube or go for a Terminator instead:
"Honestly, that last movie has me questioning my commitment to this whole Skynet thing."
Here's the building part of the machine putting the correct LEGOs together:
And here is the clone of the original, meeting its twin for the first time. Brothers and sisters are coming, and soon we'll all know their wrath (and love).
"Soon ... soon."
If that somehow failed to impress you, another machine one ups the "LEGO awareness" factor by scanning ANY object and then using a computer-aided design program to determine which bricks are necessary to rebuild it in LEGO. It's like a child LEGO prodigy, only made out of LEGOs, rendering human children obsolete. It's only a matter of time before we start noticing loved ones and co-workers who don't eat and snap back together if they fall down the stairs. It doesn't help that the laser scanner looks as menacing as hell:
"No, Mr. Lamb ... I expect you die."
#1. A Robot That Solves a Rubik's Cube in Seconds
Hey, remember Rubik's Cube? Of course you do, you don't live in a hole on the moon. The fun thing about Rubik's Cubes is that most of us forgot about them around 20 years ago. But most of us aren't mad geniuses who can't let a thing go, unlike the guys who created a LEGO robot whose sole purpose is to solve the Rubik's Cube as fast as possible. Even faster than an obsessed human. Are you ready for the solve time? 5.35 seconds. Behold:
This is doubly impressive when you realize that the human record setter was allowed to analyze the cube before trying to solve it, while the Cubestormer II does its analysis and solving simultaneously, and it still beat the human record holder. It's the LEGO version of IBM's Deep Blue, although it doesn't appear that the human in this case threw a hissy fit and called Cubestormer a cheater.
"Call me a cheater and we'll see how fast I can rearrange your face instead of a cube."
Those blurs aren't a cool Photoshopping effect; that is Cubestormer twisting the cube at blinding speed. The LEGO contraption is linked to a Samsung Android phone and uses an app written to interact with the LEGO NXT computer to solve the puzzle. It also displays the current configuration on the screen, because when a robot is smashing a world record, it needs to show off what it's thinking just to rub our inferiority in our faces.
For more ways humans continue to amaze us, check out 6 Mind-Blowing Things People Built in Their Backyard and 7 Mind-Blowing Structures Built in Secret.