When life hands you 4,000 pounds of Legos, what are you supposed to do except build an automated Lego sorter using AI? That's what Jacques Mattheij, a lifelong Lego fan, did anyway.
Mattheij explained why he decided to build the pretty incredible machine in a blog post. When he realized that people pay around $45 for a set of Legos on eBay, he did some research and found that he could buy Legos in bulk for around $11. And out of all the miscellaneous Lego pieces, he knew he'd be able to put together plenty of sets that he could turn around and sell.
So he bid way too high on way too many Legos, only to wake up the next morning to loads of emails congratulating him on all of his wins. He ended up being the proud (and overwhelmed) owner of 4,000 pounds of Legos, but had no way of sorting through them. So he invented a machine that does the sorting for him.
Using Python code, re-purposed industrial equipment, a treadmill, and a camera, Mattheij's machine sorts over 38,000 shapes in 100 possible colors and shades. The pieces are sent up a conveyor belt on a ladder, then they slide down a chute, and are then photographed and taken to their respective bins on another conveyor belt.
Here's the machine in action:
And here's another video of the Legos in action:
So now that the world has a Lego sorting machine, we just need someone to invent something that lessens the pain of stepping on one.