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Universal Lego Sorter Utilizes Learning AI

Credit: Daniel West via YouTube

Now this is a worthwhile use of advanced technology.

Now, I don’t know how all of you took care of your Lego bricks when you were kids, but me? If they weren’t being used in a set or a spaceship, they were dumped into a big-ol bucket and left to combine into all manner of horrible amalgams. This is, obviously, not an effective way to care for Legos, but being a kid, I couldn’t be bothered to take them all out of there and sort them. If only I had Daniel West’s universal Lego sorter to do it for me.

Internet tinkerer Daniel West has developed what may be the world’s first AI-powered universal Lego brick sorting device. Creative folks have used Legos to create motorized machines before (one group made an entire Bugatti out of them), and sorting devices have been played with, but none quite like this.

West assembled his sorter from over 10,000 Lego bricks, 6 Lego motors, and 9 servos. When pieces are dumped into the receptacle, they’re picked up by a conveyor belt and spaced out by a vibrating motor. A camera above the belt identifies the pieces, and a series of gates open and close to sort them into the proper bins. West fed his neural net AI 3D images of over 3,000 different kinds of Lego bricks, and it can recognize them all individually. His AI has developed so well, it can even identify and sort a brick it has never seen before on the spot.

It took West the better part of two years to assemble this machine, and now that he’s done, he’s considering writing an academic paper. He’s not sure whether he’ll publicly release instructions for assembling the sorter, but he will release the files for his AI program.