Lego Mindstorms Robot Sits at Computer, Plays Old-School Tetris, Wins

Here at PopSci we’re always looking for the best and baddest in robotics news. But this week — National Robotics Week — we’re ratcheting up our coverage, highlighting some of the most thought-provoking, future-driven concepts in robo-tech each day.

There are two things that are universally true about Tetris: that Russian-style theme music is impossible to get out of your head, and everybody loves Tetris. Which is why we had to take a moment to highlight the Tetris-Bot, a simple PC gaming robot patched together from a digital evaluation module (EVM), a web cam and a Lego Mindstorms robot kit.

The cam is positioned in front of the screen, where it gathers visual data that it feeds to the EVM. The EVM — the brains of the operation — puts those data inputs through a series of algorithms, providing an output command to the Mindstorm assembly positioned over the keyboard. It’s not perfect, but who’s ever played a perfect game of Tetris?

As you check out Tetris-Bot in action below, don’t fail to note that the toys of today are so sophisticated that they’re playing with the futuristic toys of yesteryear.