Students at a workshop built a sub-$500 atomic force microcope out of Lego, 3D-printed parts, and Arduinos. Students from several schools participated in a five-day LEGO2NANO workshop [warning: link 502ing at the moment] where they built the microscope, which builds 3D images of nanoscale structures.
Using Lego allowed them to work on the working elements of the microscope without wasting time designing support structures. However, don’t discount the metal plates and beams visible in the photo. These are Makeblock, a relatively new (2011) aluminum building set with a lot to like about it.
Makeblock was a sponsor at World Maker Faire last weekend and exhibited some cool projects including an automated xylophone. The beams are very carefully designed and have the added bonus of having connector holes that align with Lego Technic beams, allowing projects like this which use aluminum for the support framework and plastic for holding components.
[via Wired.co.uk, photo credit: Alice Pyne]