Sorting Lego bricks is such a painful endeavor that most of us don’t even bother. This inventive DIY hacker did, though, and the design for a brick sorter he created ended up looking…a lot like a chocolate sorter?
DIY hacker Paco Garcia set out to design a machine that could sort all of his Lego bricks by shape (but not by color, maybe next time). While he tried out a few techniques of his own, he eventually came across the perfect design: a chocolate sorting machine.
Specifically, he used angled guides placed along a track to separate bricks on the track. When a clump of bricks meets the guide, they move more slowly down the track with extra friction. At the end of the series of guides, the bricks are more or less aligned in a straight path, allowing them to be fed one-at-a-time into the scanning and sorting section of the machine. You can see the same technique in use in this chocolate sorting machine.
The sorter also uses Google’s Inception V3 neural network to scan the Lego bricks to identify which one goes in which slot. A pretty necessary function of a Lego sorter! To train the neural net, Garcia came up with a clever solution: feed a single type of brick through the sorter at a time, and assign the pictures that the cameras take as that class of brick. It’s a lot easier than manually taking pictures of individual bricks.
While most of us won’t take the time to build such an elaborate Lego sorter, it’s incredible to see it in action. Check it out in the video above, and check out Garcia’s post below for more information on how he made it.