Magic Bendable LEGOs Really Just Geometry

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How can you use rectangular bricks to make amazing curved shapes? LEGO creations that seem impossible to make without bending the bricks themselves can come together easily with a little help from your high school math class. Jeff Sanders of Portland, OR began incorporating geometry into his LEGO building when he realized that even though the bricks are made of a hard plastic, they have a little bit of flexibility.

The 1×2 and 1×3 bricks have an ever-so-slight of agive to them, which combined with a little bit of math, allowed Sanders to first build a circle, and then keep building larger and more creative curved designs. Sanders’ largest creation is a sunflower, made of more than 1,800 bricks. Sanders says he started thinking about LEGO building mathematically when he realized that he could apply the Fibonacci sequence to creating curved structures.

While trying to create a spiral out of LEGOs, Sanders struggled until he sat down and drew on paper the structure he was trying to make to help him visualize his problem. Doing this showed him that the proportions of the spiral grew in the ratio 1:2:3:5:8, otherwise known as the Fibonacci sequence. It was then that using math to build with the bricks clicked for Sanders.

According to Sanders the brick-bending designs are most likely the by-product of a started — but never completed — master’s degree in math education. He is hoping to create instructional videos for YouTube to share his designs with the world, but first he needs to get a few more LEGO bricks.

(via Discovery News, photos via Jeff Sanders)

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