As enjoyable as the holidays are, there are parts that you’re happy to be done with — like wrapping presents. It’s a process that seems overly complicated, especially when your hard work is going to just be torn to shreds, which is why I desperately want this giant Lego machine as my gift-wrapping assistant.
This machine measures in at around 45 inches long, which makes it large enough to hold a standard sized roll of wrapping paper. Even more noteworthy, this thing is almost entirely built from Lego pieces, including gears, pulleys, electric motors, various sensors, and a Lego Mindstorms EV3 programming brick that controls it all. The only things not made from Lego are the cutting head, some of the cabling (there’s a lot of wires on this one), and the custom software it runs on, which was coded in Python.
Presents — at least those inside a box — are placed on a separate area, also made from Lego, where two optical sensors analyse and calculate its dimensions. From there the custom code calculates the total volume of the box, and then the amount of wrapping paper needed to completely cover it with enough slack on the ends to make some fancy decorative folds.
The machine then automatically unravels a role of wrapping paper to the desired length, where a cutting head on a sliding track makes a series of slices to remove any excess length. A perfectly proportioned piece of parchment then rolls out of the machine ready to be wrapped around your gift. Unfortunately, at least in its current form, the machine isn’t able to do all the wrapping for you. That’s an upgrade we’ll hopefully see arrive in 2021. In 2022, maybe it will even handle all your online holiday shopping, too.