Cambridge University researchers studying artificial bones have found a unique way to automate the repetitive process of creating samples: they used Lego Mindstorms.
Creating a bone sample involves dipping it into a calcium and protein bath, rinsing it in water, and then dipping it into a mixture of phosphate and protein. The process needs to be repeated so many times that it's impractical for a human to do it, and off-the-shelf lab machines are expensive.
Enter a custom-built Lego crane, programmed to dip the sample into the correct substances in the correct order every time. Using the machines, the researchers can produce a fully-made sample overnight.
Daniel Strange, a member of the team that came up with the Lego bone machine, will be discussing the project and taking questions tomorrow morning as part of Google's Science Fair. The livestream starts at 11:00 a.m. ET.