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Last week I shared with you a couple of excellent tutorials directly by the LEGO designer who was working on the LEGO FUSION sets. As you know, LEGO FUSION blends together building with real LEGO bricks and digital play on your smart-phone or tablet device, and it takes a bit to understand how these sets work and how revolutionary they are. There are four sets in the LEGO FUSION line, however at the time of writing the first article only two tutorials were available; for #21204 LEGO FUSION Town Master and #21205 LEGO FUSION Battle Towers (see here: LEGO FUSION – Learn How to Play!). But now we have the other two tutorials, thanks to Nichole from the LEGO FUSION team who reached out and made sure the missing videos were uploaded quickly. So let’s check them out! :)

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:arrow: LEGO FUSION CREATE & RACE – LEARN HOW TO PLAY: In this video you will get introduced to the LEGO FUSION Create & Race set. I was actually really looking forward to this video, because I knew this game was different than the previous two we talked about before. Here, instead of building a LEGO model with real LEGO bricks, then using the scanning-plate to upload them into the game, you build the car inside the digital game, which then generates building instructions so you can build your car with real LEGO bricks. Once you are done you use the scanning-plate to confirm that what you build is correct (This step is really funny with what looks like animated minifigs running around your desk giving a final inspection.)

I believe the process is done this way because in the other LEGO FUSION sets you build a 2D version of your design which is than scanned into and built 3D in the game. Vehicles would be hard to build 2D with real LEGO bricks, but if you would build then 3D it would be difficult (if not impossible) to scan them in – so the process has been reversed while still keeping the real-world and digital building interactive. The downside of this is that while in the other LEGO FUSION sets you must build with real LEGO bricks to populate your digital world, in the LEGO FUSION Create & Race game it seems that you can progress in the game just fine without ever building anything with real LEGO bricks. I could be wrong, and perhaps there are parts of the digital game that you can’t unlock without building something for real and getting enough points, but this is not clear from the tutorial. The digital racing games look really fun though and I guess kids will be compelled to play out at least some of the action with real LEGO racecars! :P

Here is the description of the #21206 LEGO FUSION Create & Race set for your convenience: Get behind the wheel of the virtual cars that you create with the digital designer, then build with real LEGO bricks! Compete on racetracks, stunt courses and in demolition challenges to dominate the leaderboard with your designs on your smart-phone or tablet! Take them to the track, then tune them up in the LEGO garage before each epic race for glory – where every brick matters! Watch as each element changes the stats of your creation. Build racecars, monster trucks and more with endless customization for maximum impact. 223 pieces. Price: $34.99 – BUY HERE

LEGO FUSION Create and Race

:arrow: LEGO FUSION RESORT DESIGNER – LEARN HOW TO PLAY: This is another LEGO FUSION set that is a bit different and was specifically designed for girls (or those who like the LEGO Friends sets). Here you can build houses like in LEGO FUSION Town Master (build in 2D with real LEGO bricks, scan into the game, which will generate a 3D version), but here you can also decorate the interiors! Plus, there are some other interactive and fun things to do inside the game.

Here is the description of the #21208 LEGO FUSION Resort Designer set for your convenience: Help the LEGO Friends build a dream summer resort! Use real LEGO bricks to build houses, rooms, shops and cafés. Then, bring your designs to life in 3D on your tablet or smart-phone. Create houses, shops, restaurants, juice bars, surf shops, pet shops and everything your dream resort needs…the possibilities are virtually endless. Decorate the interior of your buildings any way you want! When you help Olivia to keep the Friends happy by building what they need, you’ll earn studs, accessories and unlock special features. Challenge yourself with missions and mini-games when they pop-up throughout the resort. Includes Olivia mini-doll. 263 pieces. Price: $34.99 – BUY HERE

LEGO FUSION Resort Designer

So there you have it! Tutorials for all four of the LEGO FUSION games. (See previous two tutorials here: LEGO FUSION – Learn How to Play!) I hope this helps you understand these interesting and innovative sets better and also assist you in choosing which one you like the most. You can get all four of the LEGO FUSION sets at the Online LEGO Shop.

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So what do you think? Did you learn from these tutorials? Did they help you decide if you like these sets? Or if you have the LEGO FUSION sets already, did the videos give you some new tips and ideas? Do you have any of the LEGO FUSION sets already? How do you like them? Feel free to share and discuss in the comment section below! ;)

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Projects in Optical & Laser Science with LEGO

by admin on September 29, 2014

in LEGO Books

There is a new LEGO book I have been reading, titled LEGO Optics: Projects in Optical and Laser Science with LEGO, written by Grady Koch. Yep, the book is exactly what the title make it sound like; full of interesting science projects using LEGO elements. :)

LEGO Optics Book Review

The background of this book is really interesting. Grady is an electro-optical engineer, building laser instruments for applications in atmospheric science and aviation. In the introduction of the book he shares that one time while working on a project with a deadline, a component failed on the eve of departing for an expensive and high-profile field experiment. Grady was scrambling and turned to the Internet to find a solution and get the faulty component fixed. However to his dismay he discovered that some critical electronic parts had become obsolete, which meant that he would have to redesign a circuit with modern parts, make a new printed circuit board, and some other stuff – all of which would be impossible to accomplish by the deadline. Out of desperation Grady turned to his childhood LEGO bricks. He replaced the function of the broken device with a LEGO contraption solidified with a few drops of Krazy Glue. The device worked, the project schedule was saved, and Grady re-discovered his childhood idea that anything can be made out of LEGO bricks – even high-tech scientific instruments!

LEGO Optics Projects in Optical and Laser Science with LEGO

There are LEGO fans who stay within the boundaries of the LEGO system, and treat it strictly as a hobby; they build LEGO towns, castles and spaceships, using LEGO elements. Then there are those who build working machines and engines using LEGO bricks – we have featured several of them here (see links at the end of this post), and there are also some people who use LEGO to build and fix things in their daily lives; things like smart-phone cases, pencil holders, book ends and more. And when you give LEGO to an electro-optical engineer like Grady, he is going to build lenses, and lasers, and mirrors and all kinds of other magical contraptions. :P

LEGO Optics Project

While LEGO doesn’t specifically make optical components like mirrors, lasers, or beam-splitters, there are actually a few LEGO parts that can serve as optical elements like the LEGO magnifying glass or LEGO light-brick. However in the realm of experiments with optics, LEGO bricks best serve as a means to hold and manipulate optical elements – which is actually a really important aspect, a lack of which often holds back students or hobbyists from realizing their projects. The combination of various optical elements coupled with the mechanical precision of LEGO bricks allows the implementation of some rather complex inventions.

Here is the description of the LEGO Optics: Projects in Optical and Laser Science: Discover how to incorporate laser and optical components into LEGO. Step-by-step instructions are given for the advanced (high school to adult) builder. These high-tech projects include: lenses, custom-color LED light bricks, LEGO laser, mirrors (with a laser light show), optomechanics, Michelson interferometer, and LEGO holography. Yeah, you read that right; holography! :D

LEGO Optics Diagram

Please note that since this book is meant to be a series of building projects, the emphasis is on practical instructions with just enough science background to understand what is going on. After each project is built, there is a “How It Works” section to give a little more explanation of the science and math behind the project. The book is set at a level of a science/math interested high-school student or adult LEGO fan. A background in algebra, trigonometry, and introductory physics is presumed. The building skills to recreate the inventions is also of a high-school student, though a middle-school student could work through the inventions with adult help. Some of the projects require the modification of LEGO elements (this is kept to a minimum), which would require adult help; such as using a drill, tapping a hole or soldering connections. Appropriate machine-shop safety practices are needed when working with these tools.

LEGO Optics Project 2

There are seven projects in the book LEGO Optics: Projects in Optical and Laser Science, and while they stand on their own, they also build on each other: The first chapter deals with lenses, the second chapter with making custom color LEGO light-bricks, and in the third chapter you learn to build a LEGO laser. The fourth chapter is about mirrors, and the fifth chapter is on optomechanics (which deals with the combination of optical science and mechanical engineering) with a cool project. The sixth chapter is building a Michelson interferometer (a device that uses the properties of laser light to detect very small motions and vibrations), and also leads up to the seventh chapter where you learn to make LEGO holograms.

For each project there is a part-list for both LEGO and non-LEGO components that you will need, as well as tools used. When non-LEGO parts are needed resources are given as far as where to get them. These include things like LED lights, small mirrors, batteries, glue, putty, laser diodes and holographic plates. There are also step-by-step instructions with color pictures (either photographs or digital images). The book is soft-bound and 124 pages long, so it is not too big for the casual tinkerer, but big enough to give you enough details on each project.

LEGO Optics Instructions

I think this is a great book for high-school students and adults who like to experiment with scientific projects. For kids who are into optics and engineering it is an excellent hands-on introduction that may steer them towards a chosen scientific field. It could very well be included in school-curriculum as most kids would have some LEGO lying around they could use for the projects. The only thing I didn’t like about the book are some of the photographs (like for example the one on the front cover) – sometimes they are a bit too dark or not sharp enough. This doesn’t in any way take away from being able to follow the instructions for the projects, it is simply an aesthetic issue. This is not a LEGO art or picture gallery book, so it can be overlooked, but I thought to mention it for the sake of the completeness.

LEGO Optics Book on Amazon

LEGO Optics: Projects in Optical and Laser Science is available on Amazon. The normal price is $20.99, Amazon’s price is currently $17.42 (this may fluctuate at times). You can find the book listed on Amazon at this link: BUY LEGO OPTICS BOOK ON AMAZON

So what do you think? Are you interested to tinker with scientific projects? Have you ever use LEGO for this purpose? What did you build? Feel free to share and discuss in the comment section below! ;)

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I have been getting a lot of questions about LEGO FUSION, which is a new line of LEGO products that blends together building with real LEGO bricks and digital play on a tablet or smart-phone. There are four sets in the LEGO FUSION line and we have talked about each of them extensively before (see […]

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