I have to make a confession: I’m almost 25, and I love LEGO. I literally cannot leave alone a pile of LEGO that has no-one playing with it. At first I thought I was abnormal, but now I know that I’m pretty normal. It’s these guys who made a working car out of LEGO that put things in perspective.
The project is the brainchild of Melbourne, Australia entrepreneur Steve Sammartino and his friend Raul Oaida, a self-taught engineer from Romania. The parts required for the car (amounting to over 500,000 pieces of LEGO) were obtained by crowdfunding through Twitter, attracting about 40 participants.
Its officially called the Super Awesome Micro Project (S.A.M.P) and the car runs entirely on compressed air. Its top speed is between 20-30km/h, but the team hasn’t yet tested the top speed of the vehicle – mostly because it’s built out of LEGO. It was constructed by Oaida in Romania and then shipped out in secret to Australia, where the car was tested.
The project cost around AUS $25,000 and Sammartino didn’t disclose how long it took for the car to be completed. In a prospectus given to contributors, Sammartino wrote that it wasn’t going to be done for profit.
“There will be NO fiscal return on this. Regard it as a techie / hacker community project where committed funds are philanthropic in nature. This project has high risk and may fail,” he wrote in the prospectus. “If sufficient funds are not raised, the money will be returned. Any excess funds will be redistributed pro rate to backers.”
The car was also intended to make a statement and to make people think about how we use technology today and what kind of world we’re leaving to future generations thanks to our use of fossil fuels and manufacturing plants that create so much pollution, as Sammartino also wrote in his prospectus.
“The project is one of those things that is cool, but in reality can only be done once. In some ways it is a stunt , but with meaning. It has important implications for technology and the world it is creating. For all those involved it will bring credibility. For the public I am certain it will create deep curiosity.”