You've made your Christmas card list and you've checked it twice. Now comes the hard part: actually getting started. To shake up what could otherwise be a pretty tedious process, two brothers decided to put their own spin on the traditional holiday card using a machine they built from LEGO bricks, as Gizmodo reports.
Fourteen-year-old Sanjay Seshan and his 12-year-old brother Arvind recently debuted the Holiday Card Plott3r, a machine powered by a series of LEGO MINDSTORMS sensors, gears, and motors, which prints out holiday greeting cards and their corresponding envelopes. Operating much like a dot-matrix printer, the machine uses two markers to draw a festive image dot-by-dot. The robot features three designs—a snowflake, a Christmas tree, and Santa’s signature—while a connected machine slides out envelopes using a pair of wheels.
"LEGO MINDSTORMS is a great way to prototype real world machines. We have been interested in dot matrix printers for a while and wanted to build one ourselves using LEGO," Sanjay and Arvind told mental_floss over email. "We have been working on different versions all year. We thought it would be fun to create a complete holiday-themed machine that automated the process of creating Christmas cards." But, they note, "it can be modified for any occasion."
Sanjay and Arvind are LEGO enthusiasts and budding engineers from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Together, they founded Ev3Lessons.com and Beyond The Instructions, websites and communities that encourage other kids to explore concepts like robotics and coding using LEGO blocks. The Seshan brothers are also part of “Team Not the Droids You Are Looking For” in the FIRST LEGO League, a competitive engineering league for children ages 9 to 16. Teams develop solutions for real-world problems using nothing but LEGO MINDSTORMS.
The Seshan brothers have made the design for their Holiday Card Plott3r project public, so others can build their own—and finally finish that Christmas to-do list.
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