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50 of the Best Food Trucks in the U.S.

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Gourdoughs

Some of the best restaurants around the country are on wheels. Whether you're craving fish tacos, wood-fired pizza, or ice cream and doughnuts, these roving eateries prove you don’t need a fancy kitchen to serve up mouth-watering cuisine.

1. URBAN SUGAR

Location: Portland, Maine

Miss Rosie the Urban Sugar truck was so popular roaming Portland’s streets serving bite-sized, gourmet doughnuts (and wintering at the nearby Sugarloaf Mountain) that owner Kevin Sandes was able to open a permanent storefront at the skiing base lodge. But Rosie continues to make the summer rounds downtown and at weddings, doling out mini concoctions like the sweet Ol’ Blue Eyes (a lavender pastry cream with lemons curds and Nilla wafer crumbs) or savory Figgy (with fig jam, toasted walnuts, goat cheese, and green onions).

2. THE FRENCH QUARTER

Location: Hoboken, New Jersey

Why travel to Mardi Gras when Mardi Gras can come to you? Cajun-style fried shrimp, jambalaya, and other New Orleans treats are available to Jersey residents year-round. Just look for the bright purple and yellow truck.

3. SEOUL TACO

Location: St. Louis, Missouri

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Food from Seoul Taco
Seoul Taco

Not only does this Korean-Mexican fusion truck serve rave-worthy tacos, quesadillas, and burritos around St. Louis (and at a handful of regional storefronts, based on the cheap-eats’ street popularity), but when owner David Choi launched his second truck in the Lou last summer, he decided to use it as an opportunity to help underserved areas. All Monday proceeds are donated to St. Louis’s Metro Market, a non-profit mobile farmers’ market that aims to provide healthy, local foods to the city’s poorer neighborhoods.

4. ROXY'S GRILLED CHEESE

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Roxy's has been serving comfort food on four wheels since 2011. The menu is stuffed with grilled cheese sandwiches that showcase the owners' Boston pride, like the Green Muenster, their muenster, bacon, and guacamole sandwich named for the iconic left field wall at Fenway Park.

5. RICKY'S FISH TACOS

Location: Los Angeles, California

In a city filled with diverse cuisines, a fish taco is one the dish that’s 100 percent Los Angeles. And in true L.A. fashion, the city’s best is served out of a food truck. The fish at Ricky’s is fried to golden brown perfection and served under a refreshing layer of chopped cabbage and pico de gallo. A taco is only complete after a trip to the condiment station, where patrons can dress their meal with white sauce and salsa to their liking.

6. MOO

Location: New Hope, Pennsylvania

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Moo Food truck
Moo

A burger from MOO is a bite of rural Pennsylvania between two buns. The ingredients that go into the All-American menu, like the grass-fed beef for the burgers, the potatoes for the fries, and the ice cream for the milkshakes, are sourced from farmers and purveyors in the community. Keep an eye out for their seasonal shake flavors like apple pie.

7. CONEY SHACK

Location: Brooklyn, New York

The next time you're going on a beach trip to Coney Island, take a quick detour to Coney Shack, an unassuming taco truck situated amongst government buildings and a police station. The Asian fusion menu offers up loaded tacos, uniquely topped hot dogs, and grilled cheese. Try their Holy Phuc and you'll find yourself saying the name of the meal over and over.

8. I DON'T GIVE A FORK

Location: Newark, Delaware

You can find this punny food truck scooting around the campus of the University of Delaware and the greater Newark area. I Don't Give a Fork serves all the greasy college classics (including a likely hangover cure, their scrapple-and-fried-egg topped breakfast burger) and features a couple of more unusual entrees, like the Mac & Cheesesteak.

9. HOLY CACAO

Location: Austin, Texas

Holy Cacao was founded in 2009 as a hot chocolate trailer, and soon expanded to include all manner of sweet treats: There’s frozen hot chocolate and ice cream floats, drinking chocolate and cake balls. To make the cake balls, cakes are baked and then crumbled, combined with frosting and hand-rolled into balls, which are speared with lollipop sticks, dipped in gourmet chocolate, and finished with toppings. What’s left over from the crumbled cakes is blended with chocolate or vanilla ice cream to create truly divine cake shakes.

10. COOLHAUS

Location: Various

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ice cream sandwiches from coolhaus
Coolhaus

Coolhaus has been serving up ice cream sandwiches since 2009, when the founders hit the road in a former postal van to sell frozen treats at Coachella. The sammies come with a side of puns, with architecture-inspired names like the "I.M. Pei-Nut Butter" and the "Mies Vanilla Rohe." Ten Coolhaus trucks are now roaming the streets of L.A., New York, and Dallas, and they’ve added pints and dipped bars to their menu.

11. CUPCAKES FOR COURAGE

Location: Chicago and Elmhurst, Illinois

What could be better than enjoying a sweet treat and doing good at the same time? Cupcakes for Courage was founded by sisters Kathryn Chandler and Laura Pekarik after Kathryn was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's T-cell lymphoma in 2010. They donate a portion of their proceeds to a variety of worthy causes, including the American Cancer Society and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. And the fact that their Cupcake Wars-winning baked goods are amazing is just, well, the icing on the cake. Fan favorites include Pink Velvet and Maple Bacon.

12. S'MORE LOVE BAKERY

Location: Nashville, Tennessee

If you get nostalgic for a good ol' fashioned s'more—a toasted marshmallow and a melty square of chocolate sandwiched between two honey graham crackers—S’more Love in Nashville can scratch that itch. But they also have some gourmet options that may end up replacing the traditional version as your favorite. The Elvis is packed with excess, just like its namesake: homemade vanilla marshmallows, sweet heart-shaped honey grahams, chocolate ganache, honey-roasted peanut butter, and, of course, some banana.

13. MAC MART

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The basis of every dish coming out of this Philadelphia food truck, founded in 2013, is a non-baked seven-cheese mac topped with a panko and crumbled potato chip crunch; the customer takes it to the next level with the mix-ins. Make your own or choose from a vast array of Mac Mart-designed dishes, from the The Wit' Mac (topped "wit" Philly steak and caramelized onions and finished with a ketchup drizzle) to the Rittenhouse (topped with garlicky spinach and artichoke dip).

14. GOURDOUGH'S

Location: Austin, Texas

Gourdough’s Big Fat Donuts lives up to its name: Each of its huge, delicious doughnuts—served out of a 1977 Airstream trailer on South First—could easily be a meal. Standouts include the Fat Elvis, a peanut butter glazed doughnut topped with grilled bananas, bacon, and honey; the Razzle Dazzle, a raspberry-filled, fudge topped doughnut; and the Flying Pig, a maple syrup glazed doughnut topped with a lot of bacon. (There’s also a brick and mortar Gourdough’s with a full menu, including doughnut sandwiches and burgers, on South Lamar.) Each doughnut is made to order and served hot for maximum yum.

15. PHO NOMENAL DUMPLINGS

Location: Raleigh, North Carolina

If you want boring food served by boring people, find another truck. Sophia Woo and Sunny Lin’s out-of-this-world food and go-get-em attitudes have driven Pho Nomenal Dumplings straight to the top, earning them first place in the Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race in 2015. The Raleigh-based truck is the place to go for stuff-your-face Asian favorites like pork and chive dumplings, beef pho, and Taiwanese spaghetti.

16. PRETTY ODD WEINERS

Location: Tahoe, California

Before the food truck craze took America by storm, hot dogs were the country’s standard street food. This Lake Tahoe truck serves reimagined versions of the classic dish. Quarter-pound dogs are paired with toppings like mac and cheese, avocado, and French fries. And a section of the menu is dedicated to exotic sausages that sate customers’ tastes for boar, bison, and elk meat.

17. THE SOUPER WAGON

Location: Crystal Bay, Nevada

Organic soup's on at The Souper Wagon, with everything from pork pozole, spicy thai coconut, and chicken soup with matzo balls on the menu. There's even an dairy- and gluten-free chicken pot pie option, as well as a variety of vegetarian and vegan soups.

18. THE TOT CART

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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tots at the tot cart
The Tot Cart

The words gourmet and tater tots might not seem to go together, but The Tot Cart proves that they totally do. The food truck, which has been operating since 2013, was named Best Food Truck in Philly in 2015; it’s famous for its Drunk Cheese tots, which are topped in homemade beer cheese. Also getting high marks are the G-Parm—tots tossed in garlic parmesan cheese—and its Totchos, which are topped with ground beef, drunk cheese, avocado cream, and salsa. Their best seller is the Buffalo Chicken Tots, which are topped with slow-cooked buffalo chicken and drizzled with blue cheese. We’re hungry just thinking about it!

19. THE WAFFLE WAGON

Location: Loxahatchee, Florida

We're pretty sure the reason the Loxahatchee, Florida-based Waffle Wagon is so-named is because you’ll waffle between which creation to choose. You can go sweet or savory, but it’s the Wu Tang Waffle that seems to get the most love on Facebook—that would be a fluffy Liege waffle topped with chicken tenders drenched in sweet teriyaki sauce and a side of soy ginger Asian slaw.

20. O'CHEEZE

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

In 2014, husband-and-wife team Haley and Tony Fritz decided to take their "unhealthy love for grilled cheese" to a professional level. At O'Cheeze, a big yellow food truck that roams the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, you can get a wide variety of melty, gooey goodness, from the Not-So-Classic (Irish cheddar, havarti, and cheddar) to The Big Stink (Gorgonzola, blue cheese, and havarti with honey and pears). O'Cheeze adds specials to the menu on the regular, so keep your eyes peeled for concoctions like the spaghetti sandwich.

21. PIGWICH

Location: Kansas City, Missouri

There are only five sandwiches at Pigwich in Kansas City, plus a daily special, but they do those five sandwiches really, really well. You can choose from a double cheeseburger, banh mi, cheesesteak, falafel, or the pigwich—smoked pork with coleslaw and BBQ sauce. The Pigwich truck is stationary, by the way, and it's attached to the Local Pig, a beloved Kansas City butcher—so you know the food is fresh.

22. CREPE LOVE

Location: Washington, D.C.

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Crepe Love food truck
Crepe Love

This portable gourmet crepe dispensary puts a lot of new twists on the classic breakfast, lunch, and dinner treat. Their Dr. Seuss has eggs, black forest ham, and cheddar cheese; you can also try the Curious George, full of honey, almonds, and banana. Got guests and an event? The truck can be booked so it's all yours.

23. LITTLE BLUE DONUT CO.

Location: Orlando, Florida

There’s nothing like a fresh, hot, melt-in-your-mouth doughnut. Little Blue Donut Co. of Orlando knows that, which is why they make all of theirs fresh to order. They have 13 flavors to choose from, including cinnamon roll and key lime, but customers can also choose their own toppings for a custom creations as well.

24. NOSH

Location: Seattle, Washington

Americans can get a plate of fish and chips worthy of an overcast London day at Nosh, but the truly curious might want to look elsewhere on the menu: the Seattle mobile eatery offers fried rabbit dipped in buttermilk. Elmer Fudd would approve.

25. EL OLOMEGA

Location: Brooklyn, New York

The ballfields in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn have become a foodie destination thanks to the bevy of food trucks that dish out delicious ethnic cuisine (tacos, empanadas, arepas, and more) each weekend. One of the most popular is the El Olomega food truck, which serves piping hot pupusas. For the uninitiated, a pupusa is a traditional Salvadorian street food consisting of a corn flour tortilla stuffed with fillings like cheese, pork, chorizo, plantains, or spinach. Pile on the pickled onions, jalapeños, cabbage, and sour cream for an irresistible lunch.

26. STREETZA

Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

There's street vendor pizza, and then there's Streetza, which doles out organic toppings and daily slice specials, from Alfredo pizza to bratwurst simmered in local beer. They even manage to have a crab legs pizza, complete with a crab leg pinwheel in the middle of pie.

27. OKAMOTO KITCHEN

Location: Los Angeles, California

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Okamoto Kitchen food truck
Okamoto Kitchen

This Japanese cuisine truck takes its cues from the passion owner Gerald Abraham has for video games: Okamoto ranks customers on a posted leaderboard, with social media mentions and orders helping to garner points good toward free food. But their variety of bowls (like the miso salmon with rice and salad bowl) and sandwiches (like the Nom Bomb, a sweet-and-sour teriyaki chicken sandwich) are enough to make you come back, even without the friendly competition.

28. ST. CLAIR WOOD-FIRED PIZZA

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana

St. Clair Pizza serves up hot, wood-fired pies from an actual oven inside an old bus. Along with standards like pepperoni and margherita pizzas, they've also got specials loaded with kimchi, pears, dates, and other under-used toppings. Just a tip: They cater weddings.

29. KING OF FALAFEL & SHAWARMA

Location: New York City

Freddy Zeideia declared himself the King of Falafel back in 2002, when he set up shop on a street corner in Queens, and he has been proving himself worthy of the title for the past 15 years. In a city filled to the brim with falafel and shawarma carts, Zeideia’s stands out, snagging the 2010 Vendy Awards’ grand prize for New York City food trucks. Don’t worry: If you can’t decide between falafel and shawarma, you can have both—the "shawafel" is a pita filled with strips of meat and falafel. Waits can be long, but you might snag a few free falafel samples while you’re in line.

30. OFF THE REZ

Location: Seattle, Washington

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food from off the rez food truck
Off The Rez

It’s rare to find a Native American food truck, so Seattleites usually jump at the chance to try Off the Rez's Indian tacos (in both meat-lover and vegetarian options) and sweet, crispy frybread (a little like a circular churro, drizzled with berry toppings, lemon curd, Nutella, and/or the flavors of your choice).

31. NANA G'S CHICKEN AND WAFFLES

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Nana Grimes's grandson took her family-favorite recipe—a classic Southern dish that infused smoked bacon in the waffle and used Nana's top-secret fried chicken recipe—and turned it into a ATL street-fare favorite. For dessert, try the Fried Oreos.

32. SNOWDAY

Location: New York City

Snowday is more than a food truck, it’s a social justice initiative that is operated by men and women who have spent time in prison, most notably on Riker's Island. It acts as a training grounds to teach former inmates skills—like money management and small business skills—that will help them re-enter the job market. With a farm-to-truck approach (most of the ingredients are local) and an emphasis on raising awareness about criminal system injustice, you can feel great about every bite of that oozy, perfectly crispy maple grilled cheese, which has been called one of the best in the city by several local mags. This summer, they’re changing their name to Drive Change, with big plans to open a food truck commissary/garage in spring 2018.

33. THE GRILLED CHEESE GRILL

Location: Portland, Oregon

The motto of this food truck—which has three Portland locations—is "come by for a taste of your childhood," although treats like "The Cheesus" (a hamburger with the bun replaced by two grilled cheese sandwiches) seem strictly adult. As a bonus, one of the locations is a converted school bus; another is a double-decker bus.

34. HEY PB&J

Location: Denver, Colorado

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Hey PB&J

The PB&J sandwich of your youth gets a gourmet upgrade from trained chef Matt McDonald, the owner of this Denver-based food truck. Launched in 2011, Hey PB&J serves unique mashups like the "Boss Hog," a sandwich packed with pecan-peanut butter, pulled pork, whiskey-peach jam, homemade bacon jam, and crushed potato chips, or "The King" which features peanut butter, applewood smoked bacon, sliced bananas, and clover honey.

35. ARLO'S

Location: Austin, Texas

Vegan meets comfort food in this truck that's connected to a nice patio area for dining in while you're outside. Try the seitan burgers or tacos with a side of sweet potato fries.

36. CHARLESTON CARIBBEAN CREOLE

Location: Charleston, South Carolina

The savory entrees from Charleston Caribbean Creole are true to the eatery’s name—the menu features a blend of traditional dishes from both cuisines, thanks in part to Chef Frisco Thumbtzen's Creole and Cajun heritage. The standout: Locals go crazy for the "Slap Your Momma Gumbo Creole," an appetizing combo of celery, bell peppers, onions, fresh herbs, and chicken, beef, and beef sausage.

37. THE GREEN BOWL

Location: Baltimore, Maryland

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The Green bowl food truck
The Green Bowl

In 2014, The Green Bowl won the Baltimore Sun’s "Best Food Truck" award—probably because omnivores, vegetarians, and eco-warriors alike can find foods on their menu to please their palates. The food truck specializes in Asian and Latin-inspired cuisine (mofongo, bibimbap, spring rolls), and some dishes, like fried green plantains, are paired with Old Bay sauce for a touch of mid-Atlantic flavor. All of these items are served in compostable bowls, and with compostable bags and utensils.

38. PIEROGI WAGON

Location: Chicago, Illinois

From kielbasa (a type of smoked sausage) to paczki (a doughnut-like pastry), Chicago residents have enjoyed the Polish-American community’s delicious culinary legacy since the mid-19th century. Today, locals can buy filled dumplings called pierogis from the Pierogi Wagon, in flavors like braised beef, cheddar and potato, and sauerkraut and mushroom.

39. FEELIN' CRABBY

Location: Washington, D.C.

In Washington, D.C., politicians and plebeians alike love seafood—especially when it’s topped with a generous pinch of Old Bay. That’s where Feelin’ Crabby comes in: The punny food truck serves lobster and crab-based sandwiches, salads, and sliders, including the giant "Crabwich" sandwich, which contains 5 ounces of jumbo lump crab meat and 2 ounces of lobster claw and knuckle meat.

40. TATANKA TRUCK

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Native American chef Sean Sherman cooks the cuisine of his people, the Oglala Sioux. In 2014, Sherman opened a Twin Cities-based catering business called the Sioux Chef, and in 2015 he co-launched the Tatanka Truck food truck, which dishes out healthy indigenous foods like bison wild rice bowls and organic, sumac-seasoned popcorn. A Sioux Chef-branded restaurant is currently in the works, too.

41. 5411 EMPANADAS

Location: Chicago, Illinois

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Empanadas from 5411 Empanada Truck
5411 Empanadas

Founded in 2011, 5411 Empanadas was one of the earliest members of the modern food truck movement in Chicago, where restrictions on mobile food vendors are some of the most onerous in the country. The truck became so popular that the company has since expanded to Miami and Houston and opened multiple storefronts in Chicago. From the simple chorizo to a bacon, dates, and goat cheese, there are plenty of fillings to choose from, including dessert options like banana and Nutella. Make sure to grab a few napkins, because things are going to get messy.

42. PEPE

Location: Washington, D.C. region

Chef José Andrés makes the best croquetas outside of Spain, and everybody knows it. His always-packed, D.C.-area tapas restaurants used to be the only place to get them, but no more. If you want something other than several servings of crispy-on-the-outside, creamy-on-the-inside croquettes, Pepe also offers a Serrano ham, manchego, and olive oil sandwich and a kick-butt gazpacho.

43. TASTE OF ETHIOPIA

Location: Green Bay, Wisconsin

Tesfaye Joyce lived in an Ethiopian orphanage for most of his life before getting adopted and moving to Wisconsin. Now he’s paying it forward, along with his siblings and adoptive father, with this Taste of Ethiopia food truck that will make your heart as happy as your stomach: This not-for-profit eatery uses all of its funds to help kids back in Ethiopia.

44. TAMALE SPACESHIP

Location: Chicago, Illinois

If you’ve ever visited the Windy City and dreamed of being served tamales by sci-fi-loving luchadores (masked Mexican wrestlers), dream no more. The tamales here are packed with everything from flank steak to duck confit. Spandex not required.

45. THE FRY GUY

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

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The Fry Guy Food Truck
The Fry Guy

You want fries with that? Frequently parked at festivals around the city, The Fry Guy is known for firing up some of the best in A-town. The Belgiun-style fries come topped with flavor combos like "coriander smoked salmon, crème fraîche, red onion, and capers" and "thai peanut sauce, curry mayo, white onion, peanut crumbles, and green onion."

46. THE SQUARE SCULLERY

Location: Akron, Ohio

You could settle for a warmed-over gyro, or you could make your week with a gorgeous, lovingly prepared mini-feast from the Square Scullery. Chefs Matt and Heather serve up what they call "indie comfort food," fresh, hip twists on classic fine food. Need great catering? They'll even bring Big Ole' Betty (that's the truck) to weddings, festivals, and corporate events. Don't miss the crispy rice ball with kimchi, cucumber melon slaw, and serrano vinaigrette, or the citrus braised pork over goat cheese and red pepper polenta cake with red slaw and sambal aioli.

47. JOGASAKI SUSHI BURRITO

Location: Los Angeles, California

For those with a hankering for Mexican-Japanese fusion, allow us to introduce you to the original sushi burrito: Raw fish or crab rolled into a special rice-based burrito. Don’t forget to order some spicy tuna nachos!

48. MUSTACHE PRETZELS

Location: Scottsdale, Arizona

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Mustache Pretzels
The Sentimental Mama

As advertised, this Scottsdale-based food truck hand rolls soft pretzels…to resemble handlebar mustaches. (Like many great businesses, it started as a joke in college.) Flavors range from a doughy original to salted caramel topped with nuts.

49. WHERE YA AT MATT

Location: Seattle, Washington

Diners craving Creole food in the Pacific Northwest can find it at Where Ya at Matt in Seattle. Run by a New Orleans native, the truck’s comforting dishes like gumbo, jambalaya, and muffulettas are the perfect antidote to a rainy Washington day. And, of course, you can't stop at a NOLA-inspired food truck without grabbing some beignets.

50. FAVA POT

Location: Arlington and Fairfax, Virginia

In addition to thoughtfully sourced and lovingly prepared food—like the Middle Eastern truck's perfectly herbed falafel, yogurt-marinated Cornish game hen, and lavash chips—Fava Pot’s founders pride themselves on good works, donating a portion of their proceeds to help orphans in Egypt.

Written by Erika Berlin, Stacy Conradt, April Daley, Michele Debczak, Kirstin Fawcett, Shaunacy Ferro, Kate Horowitz, Bess Lovejoy, Erin McCarthy, Rebecca O'Connell, Lucas Reilly, Jake Rossen, and Abbey Stone.

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iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva
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Man Buys Two Metric Tons of LEGO Bricks; Sorts Them Via Machine Learning
May 21, 2017
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iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva

Jacques Mattheij made a small, but awesome, mistake. He went on eBay one evening and bid on a bunch of bulk LEGO brick auctions, then went to sleep. Upon waking, he discovered that he was the high bidder on many, and was now the proud owner of two tons of LEGO bricks. (This is about 4400 pounds.) He wrote, "[L]esson 1: if you win almost all bids you are bidding too high."

Mattheij had noticed that bulk, unsorted bricks sell for something like €10/kilogram, whereas sets are roughly €40/kg and rare parts go for up to €100/kg. Much of the value of the bricks is in their sorting. If he could reduce the entropy of these bins of unsorted bricks, he could make a tidy profit. While many people do this work by hand, the problem is enormous—just the kind of challenge for a computer. Mattheij writes:

There are 38000+ shapes and there are 100+ possible shades of color (you can roughly tell how old someone is by asking them what lego colors they remember from their youth).

In the following months, Mattheij built a proof-of-concept sorting system using, of course, LEGO. He broke the problem down into a series of sub-problems (including "feeding LEGO reliably from a hopper is surprisingly hard," one of those facts of nature that will stymie even the best system design). After tinkering with the prototype at length, he expanded the system to a surprisingly complex system of conveyer belts (powered by a home treadmill), various pieces of cabinetry, and "copious quantities of crazy glue."

Here's a video showing the current system running at low speed:

The key part of the system was running the bricks past a camera paired with a computer running a neural net-based image classifier. That allows the computer (when sufficiently trained on brick images) to recognize bricks and thus categorize them by color, shape, or other parameters. Remember that as bricks pass by, they can be in any orientation, can be dirty, can even be stuck to other pieces. So having a flexible software system is key to recognizing—in a fraction of a second—what a given brick is, in order to sort it out. When a match is found, a jet of compressed air pops the piece off the conveyer belt and into a waiting bin.

After much experimentation, Mattheij rewrote the software (several times in fact) to accomplish a variety of basic tasks. At its core, the system takes images from a webcam and feeds them to a neural network to do the classification. Of course, the neural net needs to be "trained" by showing it lots of images, and telling it what those images represent. Mattheij's breakthrough was allowing the machine to effectively train itself, with guidance: Running pieces through allows the system to take its own photos, make a guess, and build on that guess. As long as Mattheij corrects the incorrect guesses, he ends up with a decent (and self-reinforcing) corpus of training data. As the machine continues running, it can rack up more training, allowing it to recognize a broad variety of pieces on the fly.

Here's another video, focusing on how the pieces move on conveyer belts (running at slow speed so puny humans can follow). You can also see the air jets in action:

In an email interview, Mattheij told Mental Floss that the system currently sorts LEGO bricks into more than 50 categories. It can also be run in a color-sorting mode to bin the parts across 12 color groups. (Thus at present you'd likely do a two-pass sort on the bricks: once for shape, then a separate pass for color.) He continues to refine the system, with a focus on making its recognition abilities faster. At some point down the line, he plans to make the software portion open source. You're on your own as far as building conveyer belts, bins, and so forth.

Check out Mattheij's writeup in two parts for more information. It starts with an overview of the story, followed up with a deep dive on the software. He's also tweeting about the project (among other things). And if you look around a bit, you'll find bulk LEGO brick auctions online—it's definitely a thing!

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8 Common Dog Behaviors, Decoded
May 25, 2017
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iStock

Dogs are a lot more complicated than we give them credit for. As a result, sometimes things get lost in translation. We’ve yet to invent a dog-to-English translator, but there are certain behaviors you can learn to read in order to better understand what your dog is trying to tell you. The more tuned-in you are to your dog’s emotions, the better you’ll be able to respond—whether that means giving her some space or welcoming a wet, slobbery kiss. 

1. What you’ll see: Your dog is standing with his legs and body relaxed and tail low. His ears are up, but not pointed forward. His mouth is slightly open, he’s panting lightly, and his tongue is loose. His eyes? Soft or maybe slightly squinty from getting his smile on.

What it means: “Hey there, friend!” Your pup is in a calm, relaxed state. He’s open to mingling, which means you can feel comfortable letting friends say hi.

2. What you’ll see: Your dog is standing with her body leaning forward. Her ears are erect and angled forward—or have at least perked up if they’re floppy—and her mouth is closed. Her tail might be sticking out horizontally or sticking straight up and wagging slightly.

What it means: “Hark! Who goes there?!” Something caught your pup’s attention and now she’s on high alert, trying to discern whether or not the person, animal, or situation is a threat. She’ll likely stay on guard until she feels safe or becomes distracted.

3. What you’ll see: Your dog is standing, leaning slightly forward. His body and legs are tense, and his hackles—those hairs along his back and neck—are raised. His tail is stiff and twitching, not swooping playfully. His mouth is open, teeth are exposed, and he may be snarling, snapping, or barking excessively.

What it means: “Don’t mess with me!” This dog is asserting his social dominance and letting others know that he might attack if they don’t defer accordingly. A dog in this stance could be either offensively aggressive or defensively aggressive. If you encounter a dog in this state, play it safe and back away slowly without making eye contact.

4. What you’ll see: As another dog approaches, your dog lies down on his back with his tail tucked in between his legs. His paws are tucked in too, his ears are flat, and he isn’t making direct eye contact with the other dog standing over him.

What it means: “I come in peace!” Your pooch is displaying signs of submission to a more dominant dog, conveying total surrender to avoid physical confrontation. Other, less obvious, signs of submission include ears that are flattened back against the head, an avoidance of eye contact, a tongue flick, and bared teeth. Yup—a dog might bare his teeth while still being submissive, but they’ll likely be clenched together, the lips opened horizontally rather than curled up to show the front canines. A submissive dog will also slink backward or inward rather than forward, which would indicate more aggressive behavior.

5. What you’ll see: Your dog is crouching with her back hunched, tail tucked, and the corner of her mouth pulled back with lips slightly curled. Her shoulders, or hackles, are raised and her ears are flattened. She’s avoiding eye contact.

What it means: “I’m scared, but will fight you if I have to.” This dog’s fight or flight instincts have been activated. It’s best to keep your distance from a dog in this emotional state because she could attack if she feels cornered.

6. What you’ll see: You’re staring at your dog, holding eye contact. Your dog looks away from you, tentatively looks back, then looks away again. After some time, he licks his chops and yawns.

What it means: “I don’t know what’s going on and it’s weirding me out.” Your dog doesn’t know what to make of the situation, but rather than nipping or barking, he’ll stick to behaviors he knows are OK, like yawning, licking his chops, or shaking as if he’s wet. You’ll want to intervene by removing whatever it is causing him discomfort—such as an overly grabby child—and giving him some space to relax.

7. What you’ll see: Your dog has her front paws bent and lowered onto the ground with her rear in the air. Her body is relaxed, loose, and wiggly, and her tail is up and wagging from side to side. She might also let out a high-pitched or impatient bark.

What it means: “What’s the hold up? Let’s play!” This classic stance, known to dog trainers and behaviorists as “the play bow,” is a sign she’s ready to let the good times roll. Get ready for a round of fetch or tug of war, or for a good long outing at the dog park.

8. What you’ll see: You’ve just gotten home from work and your dog rushes over. He can’t stop wiggling his backside, and he may even lower himself into a giant stretch, like he’s doing yoga.

What it means: “OhmygoshImsohappytoseeyou I love you so much you’re my best friend foreverandeverandever!!!!” This one’s easy: Your pup is overjoyed his BFF is back. That big stretch is something dogs don’t pull out for just anyone; they save that for the people they truly love. Show him you feel the same way with a good belly rub and a handful of his favorite treats.

The best way to say “I love you” in dog? A monthly subscription to BarkBox. Your favorite pup will get a package filled with treats, toys, and other good stuff (and in return, you’ll probably get lots of sloppy kisses). Visit BarkBox to learn more.

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