A 14-Year-Old and His Younger Brother Made a Holiday Card Printer Out of LEGO

You've made your Christmas card list and you've checked it twice. Now comes the hard part: actually getting started. To shake up what could otherwise be a pretty tedious process, two brothers decided to put their own spin on the traditional holiday card using a machine they built from LEGO bricks, as Gizmodo reports.

Fourteen-year-old Sanjay Seshan and his 12-year-old brother Arvind recently debuted the Holiday Card Plott3r, a machine powered by a series of LEGO MINDSTORMS sensors, gears, and motors, which prints out holiday greeting cards and their corresponding envelopes. Operating much like a dot-matrix printer, the machine uses two markers to draw a festive image dot-by-dot. The robot features three designs—a snowflake, a Christmas tree, and Santa’s signature—while a connected machine slides out envelopes using a pair of wheels.

"LEGO MINDSTORMS is a great way to prototype real world machines. We have been interested in dot matrix printers for a while and wanted to build one ourselves using LEGO," Sanjay and Arvind told mental_floss over email. "We have been working on different versions all year. We thought it would be fun to create a complete holiday-themed machine that automated the process of creating Christmas cards." But, they note, "it can be modified for any occasion."

Sanjay and Arvind are LEGO enthusiasts and budding engineers from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Together, they founded Ev3Lessons.com and Beyond The Instructions, websites and communities that encourage other kids to explore concepts like robotics and coding using LEGO blocks. The Seshan brothers are also part of “Team Not the Droids You Are Looking For” in the FIRST LEGO League, a competitive engineering league for children ages 9 to 16. Teams develop solutions for real-world problems using nothing but LEGO MINDSTORMS.

The Seshan brothers have made the design for their Holiday Card Plott3r project public, so others can build their own—and finally finish that Christmas to-do list.

[h/t Gizmodo]

Header/banner image courtesy of iStock 

The Most Popular Netflix Show in Every Country
most popular Netflix show in each country map
most popular Netflix show in each country map key

If you're bored with everything in your Netflix queue, why not look to the top shows around the world for a recommendation?

HighSpeedInternet.com recently used Google Trends data to create a map of the most popular show streaming on Netflix in every country in 2018. The best-loved show in the world is the dystopian thriller 3%, claiming the number one spot in eight nations. The show is the first Netflix original made in Portuguese, so it's no surprise that Portugal and Brazil are among the eight countries that helped put it at the top of the list.

Coming in second place is South Korea's My Love from the Star, which seven countries deemed their favorite show. The romantic drama revolves around an alien who lands on Earth and falls in love with a mortal. The English-language show with the most clout is 13 Reasons Why, coming in at number three around the world—which might be proof that getting addicted to soapy teen dramas is a universal experience.

Pot comedy Disjointed is Canada's favorite show, which probably isn't all that surprising given the nation's recent ruling to legalize marijuana. Perhaps coming as even less of a shock is the phenomenon of Stranger Things taking the top spot in the U.S. Favorites like Black Mirror, Sherlock, and The Walking Dead also secured the love of at least one country.

Out of the hundreds of shows on the streaming platform, only 47 are a favorite in at least one country in 2018. So no hard feelings, Gypsy.

Roadside Bear Statue in Wales is So Lifelike That Safety Officials Want It Removed

Wooden bear statue.

There are no real bears in the British Isles for residents to worry about, but a statue of one in the small Welsh town of Llanwrtyd Wells has become a cause of concern. As The Telegraph reports, the statue is so convincing that it's scaring drivers, causing at least one motorist to crash her car. Now road safety officials are demanding it be removed.

The 10-foot wooden statue has been a fixture on the roadside for at least 15 years. It made headlines in May of 2018 when a woman driving her car saw the landmark and took it to be the real thing. She was so startled that she veered off the road and into a street sign.

After the incident, she complained about the bear to highways officials who agreed that it poses a safety threat and should be removed. But the small town isn't giving in to the Welsh government's demands so quickly.

The bear statue was originally erected on the site of a now-defunct wool mill. Even though the mill has since closed, locals still see the statue as an important landmark. Llanwrtyd Wells councilor Peter James called it an "iconic gateway of the town," according to The Telegraph.

Another town resident, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Telegraph that the woman who crashed her car had been a tourist from Canada where bears are common. Bear were hunted to extinction in Britain about 1000 years ago, so local drivers have no reason to look out for the real animals on the side of the road.

The statue remains in its old spot, but Welsh government officials plan to remove it themselves if the town doesn't cooperate. For now, temporary traffic lights have been set up around the site of the accident to prevent any similar incidents.

[h/t The Telegraph]


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