World’s First Full-Size Lego Car is Powered by Insane Air Engine [Video]

A life-sized car made of 500,000 Lego pieces can reach speeds of 12-17 miles per hour running on an engine powered by air.

Steve Sammartino, a Melbourne-based entrepreneur, and a tech “genius” from Romania, Raul Oaida, have created a car from Lego pieces that can actually be driven on the road.

The project began in April 2012 from just a single Tweet, when Steve Sammartino, reached out via Twitter and raised tens of thousands of dollars from 40 fellow entrepreneurs to fund the project.

The Tweet by Steve said: “Anyone interested in investing $500-$1000 in a project which is awesome & a world first tweet me. Need about 20 participants… #startup.”

Sammartino and Romanian tech expert Oaida went for a hot rod design simply on the basis that “hot rods are cool.” The bright yellow hot rod, snappily titled the ‘Super Awesome Micro Project’, was built on 20 month using 500,000 pieces of Lego.

The stunning creation is powered by four orbital engines with 256 pistons, and runs on compressed air, which pushes it to a not-typically-hot-rod top speed of 17 mph. Any faster and the whole thing could fall apart, its makers said.

Mr. Sammartino says the car is a world-first and is “proof-of-concept of environmentally-friendly equipment”.

He added: “What really matters in the world now isn’t so much the new technology. It’s people having access to the technology. It’s about people using their imagination to put things together in ways that people haven’t thought of before. That’s where the real power is.”

Oaida, who recently received his Australian visa, built the car in Romania and had it shipped to a secret location in Melbourne, Australia, for its test drive on the suburban streets. Some damage did occur during shipping, but Oaida was able to make repairs, in spite of some of the pieces warping due to changing temperatures, says CNet.

“I built it once, so I knew I could fix anything that would be broken on it,” Oaida said.

It cost £11,200 to build and was crowd-funded by forty Australian patrons. One of them is blogger Trevor Young, who said: “I think ultimately you get involved with something like this because it’s such an awesome idea and good things might flow from it.”

Since unveiling their project, the Lego car has gotten plenty of attention this week. A YouTube video  of their work has been viewed more than 700,000 times. While Sammartino isn’t sure what’s next for the car — perhaps an auction or public display — he does have some goals for the project’s long-term effects.

“The main thing for the future is the tech community stand up and take notice of Raul Oaida,” Sammartino shared with Mashable.

“He is the guy who made the tech happen. As we move into the hardware era of the digital revolution, I just hope I’ve helped him get a Lego up. Find funding for his big ideas and seeded him to the world. He wants to explore space and he has the capacity to do anything.”

The pair first teamed up last year for another project that put a Lego replica of the Space Shuttle into the upper atmosphere. The flight became a hit on YouTube and inspired the duo to continue their collaboration, leading to this remarkable life-size Lego car.

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