They're Not Just Toys, And They're Not Just For Kids!

Okay, so this particular post isn’t quite about robots, it’s about Legos and to some extent about Mindstorms, and just for a moment I’m going to stretch the bounds of this blog to include it because I think it deserves to be shared.

Every Thursday here in Japan the Tokyo Television network broadcasts a prime time contest program called “Telebei Champions”. The program is on the air for 90 minutes, and features a different contest every week, usually with several different elimination rounds. One week they might have five teams competing to build log houses. The next week it might feature a cooking contest. They even did one contest that centered around building sand castles.

This week’s contest was to build things out of Legos. They started off with some elimination rounds in Tokyo, and narrowed the field down to two top Japanese Lego builders. Then they flew the competitors to Denmark to compete against the best that the Danes had to offer!


The competition was really intense. The first few days all the construction was done outside in full public view, but by the third day it started to rain and they had to move the contest inside. The final contest project chosen by each competitor had to feature a mixture of both cultures, but other than that, they were pretty much on their own.

All of the projects were totally amazing – in complexity, execution, and beauty. And, all of them had moving parts – which is where the Mindstorms controllers and motors came in handy.

One entry was a Viking ship that looked fairly typical from one side, but when it turned around the opposite side showed the ship’s interior which had a fantastically detailed Japanese theme including a Zen like garden, beer hall, and bullet train.


The next entry was a famous Japanese temple that opened up to reveal complete cityscapes of a Japanese and a Danish city.


The third entry, my personal favorite, was one of the traditional Japanese red globes that opens to reveal a surprise. They’re used to celebrate major occasions like a new train station opening. This one opened to reveal a complete, and extremely complex, futuristic Lego city with Japanese and Danes living side by side.




The fourth entry, which ended up being the winner selected by the audience votes, was a huge world globe that converted into a moving amusement park complete with working Lego escalators and rides.



The audience voted by stacking up Lego pieces of different colors in front of the project they liked the most.


And the winner was crowned-


Besides the huge trophy, the free trip to Denmark, the visit to Lego headquarters, and a huge amount of recognition, she also walked away with a very large cash prize.

So – who says Legos are just toys for kids? 

Related links:

Japanese Lego TV Contest – photo album of screen shots


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