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 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 

Afternoon Map
The Most Searched Shows on Netflix in 2017, By State

Orange is the New Black is the new black, at least as far as Netflix viewers are concerned. The women-in-prison dramedy may have premiered in 2013, but it’s still got viewers hooked. Just as they did in 2017, took a deep dive into Netflix analytics using Google Trends to find out which shows people in each state were searching Netflix for throughout the year. While there was a little bit of crossover between 2016 and 2017, new series like American Vandal and Mindhunter gave viewers a host of new content. But that didn’t stop Orange is the New Black from dominating the map; it was the most searched show in 15 states.

Coming in at a faraway second place was American Vandal, a new true crime satire that captured the attention of five states (Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin). Even more impressive is the fact that the series premiered in mid-September, meaning that it found a large and rabid audience in a very short amount of time.

Folks in Alaska, Colorado, and Oregon were all destined to be disappointed; Star Trek: Discovery was the most searched-for series in each of these states, but it’s not yet available on Netflix in America (you’ve got to get CBS All Access for that, folks). Fourteen states broke the mold a bit with shows that were unique to their state only; this included Big Mouth in Delaware, The Keepers in Maryland, The OA in Pennsylvania, GLOW in Rhode Island, and Black Mirror in Hawaii.

Check out the map above to see if your favorite Netflix binge-watch matches up with your neighbors'. For more detailed findings, visit

Afternoon Map
Monthly Internet Costs in Every Country

Thanks to the internet, people around the world can conduct global research, trade tips, and find faraway friends without ever leaving their couch. Not everyone pays the same price for these digital privileges, though, according to new data visualizations spotted by Thrillist.

To compare internet user prices in each country, cost information site created a series of maps. The data comes courtesy of English market research consultancy BDRC and, which teamed up to analyze 3351 broadband packages in 196 nations between August 18, 2017 and October 12, 2017.

In the U.S., for example, the average cost for internet service is $66 per month. That’s substantially more than what browsers pay in neighboring Mexico ($27) and Canada ($55). Still, we don’t have it bad compared to either Namibia or Burkina Faso, where users shell out a staggering $464 and $924, respectively, for monthly broadband access. In fact, internet in the U.S. is far cheaper than what residents in 113 countries pay, including those in Saudi Arabia ($84), Indonesia ($72), and Greenland ($84).

On average, internet costs in Asia and Russia tend to be among the lowest, while access is prohibitively expensive in sub-Saharan Africa and in certain parts of Oceania. As for the world’s cheapest internet, you’ll find it in Ukraine and Iran.

Check out the maps below for more broadband insights, or view’s full findings here.

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site

[h/t Thrillist]


More from mental floss studios