It’s pretty safe to say that artists love LEGO, but they usually focus on constructing three-dimensional sculptures that take advantage of the building blocks. Recently, however, the new LEGO Art series of kits became available. Those are two dimensional art pieces that utilize the button-style LEGO pieces in a multitude of colors. Currently, you can purchase renditions of Andy Warhol’s famous Marilyn Monroe prints, portraits of The Beatles members, Iron Man graphics, or Star Wars Sith characters. Those are built as panels that then come together to form the art, and YouTuber James Bruton create a robot to display those panels dynamically.
The LEGO Art sets are pricey — $119.99 for the Iron Man version — but they also offer a lot of versatility. The Iron Man set can, for example, be used to make three unique images. Of course, you can only build one at a time, so you’d have to buy three sets if you wanted to display them all simultaneously. Each image is displayed across nine individual panels, and all you have to do is follow the guides to place the colored button-style pieces in the correct positions. It’s very similar to creating pixel art. You’d normally put those nine panels together and hang the art on the wall, but Bruton’s robot displays them in a much more interesting way.
Bruton’s robot, which is made mostly from 3D-printed parts and controlled primarily by an Arduino Mega board, puts each of those nine panels at the end of articulated arms. Each arm has three servo motors, which allows for all sorts of interesting movement. That movement can be controlled via DMX software, which makes it easy to coordinate with other effects or music. The robot drives around on a trio of omnidirectional wheels, all of which are powered. That requires some interesting vectoring math to travel in straight lines, but the omnidirectional wheels ensure that it is able to move smoothly. This is, of course, a highly specific robot, but that just makes it all the more impressive.