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OK, I'll try not to make this too long and boring. I am a Lego enthusiast, have been for 30+ years now. Took a break from them in my
teens but when I got to college they came in handy once again. When I asked my folks to send my box of Legos to me, they thought it pretty funny. As a joke, they gave me a new set at Christmas, and have been doing so ever since.
Here's the deal. I love Legos, unfortunately, I can't build the sets without some help. I am totally blind and have a bit of trouble with all the pictures. :-)
Who out there has the ability to describe construction of sets with such accuracy that I'd be able to assemble the sets myself? I'll take care of the color separation using a new handy dandy color identifier that is crap but should work on the relatively limited color set of Lego bricks.
You just have to describe each piece and where it goes. What brave soule out there is willing to take this challenge?
We can start out small and work our way up. I've got a couple of old sets that are only a handful of pieces. And I remember roughly what they looked like. BTW, I had sight up until the age of seven so some of the sets I had I remember quite vividly, such as 653 Ambulance and Helicopter, 1973.
Hope someone is interested.
Later.
--
Blue skies.
Dan Rossi
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Theoretically, some talented programmer could make an LDraw plug-in that would speak the positions of the pieces.
Many people make LDraw representations of various sets, so with this technology, you could build until your heart was content based on the thousands of LDraw files to be found on the internet.
As for a system of describing position - we have a pretty good way to name each piece, so one would think that an X, Y, and Z value would help with position - along with rotation (in fractions of a turn) might be a good way to describe it.
So using the last pieces as a reference, one might say "Up one brick height, left two studs, away two studs, quarter turn up (from it's reference position)".
I guess a similar system exists for Chess - one would only need a 3rd dimension and a way to describe rotation along axes.

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Interesting concept, but wouldn't it be better to use absolute position rather than relative position? Once you establish the datum point I think it would be less prone to mistakes.
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Dan Rossi
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I thought about absolute positioning - as is used with the chess board like I mentioned.
LDraw models are constructed on a virtual grid that could represent a baseplate. If one were to add a reference piece on the plane that represents the baseplate, then a blind builder could place a reference piece, then build his model on that plate using it's studs for reference.
I can imagine many cases where it would be easier to use relative positioning though. It'd probably be a good idea to incorporate two systems.
Do you go to CMU Dan? It sounds like this might be an excellent senior thesis project. :)
I feel that I am limited in this thought exercise because I don't know what it's like to be blind. I imagine there are some tricks for establishing points of reference. After all, blind people seem to be able to get from place to place quite well (at least the blind people I know and see on a regular basis).
In theory, perhaps one could use a similar technique - except scale it down to a smaller scale for the purpose of Lego construction? Without understanding the system, it is hard for me to judge feasibility of this idea.

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Hi Dan, I have several files written for a blind lady in New York. They all concern MindStorms and Robotic construction. I used a grid method to help her place the parts and we eventually agreed on the names for the pieces. She assembled some very complex robots with the method. I don't have a lot of information on the regular sets. I can send you some of the files and you can check them to see if the instruction style will work for you. I am retired, so I have plenty of time and would be glad to try and adapt the files to your needs. Let me know if you want the files.
Bob Fay snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net
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I really can't dedicate any time(busy college student), but this sounds really interesting! Let me know if it works out!
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