Classic Computing Meets LEGOs

By Tim Moran  |  Posted 2012-03-14

By Tim Moran

There seems to be some odd connection between computing and LEGOs. Well, maybe it’s not that odd, really, since working with both of them requires imagination and intelligence. To that end, we wrote a while back about a software engineer who, as a hobby, recreated an ancient analog computer out of LEGOs. In his spare time, he made a working replica of the ancient Greek Antikythera Mechanism, circa 100 B.C., which was designed to predict astronomical events, such as eclipses.

Recently, the LEGO Group made the creation of new projects more formal, with CUUSOO, a Japanese partner. Users can create a project, share it with others and garner support. If an idea gains 10,000 supporters, it may be produced as a LEGO product, with the creator sharing in the profits. 

Opting to take advantage of this opportunity, someone called HairyDalek thinks that a “range of models of historical computers, specifically those that spurred on the home computer market from the 1980s” would be of interest. So he started the line with a model of the venerable Sinclair ZX81.

Explains HairyDalek: “I would envisage other computers from that era—Sinclair Spectrum, BBC Micro, Atari ST, Vic-20, Commodore 64, MSX systems, etc. The models should be as close to 1:1 as possible, thus allowing models of varying sizes (and prices) to be sold. A ZX81 would, for example, be a much cheaper set than a BBC Model B or a Commodore Amiga.”

It’s not an ancient computer, but it’s certainly an old computer. And we think that LEGOs enthusiasts—both kids and adults—would find these LEGO sets fun and interesting. He even suggests that “it would be nice to include a mini-fig representation of the creator of the machine, or key people involved in their invention or production, though not necessary.”

Ya gotta love LEGOs.