“Forget for a minute that they’re used as toys,” says Ludovico Cademartiri. “They’re actually pieces of high-quality plastic, built to extraordinary standards of precision, that you can use to build stuff.” (Credit: JonoTakesPhotos/Flickr)
As reported by Mike Krapfl-Iowa State at Futurity.org, scientists have been constructing high-tech apparatus for conducting plant research using LEGO bricks:
Ludovico Cademartiri, assistant professor of materials science and engineering at Iowa State University, was looking for something modular, scalable, and structurally precise. He wanted something simple, reproducible, affordable, and capable of many simultaneous experiments. He was looking for something transparent, autoclavable, three-dimensional, chemically inert, and compatible with existing plant growth experiments.
And he came up with the perfect solution in the toy aisle—LEGO bricks.
Within the LEGO structure, red dye reveals the presence of a nutrient in the gel. (Credit: Lind KR, et al. (2014) PLoS ONE 9(6): e100867). Read the whole thing.