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December 20, 2013

Air-powered Lego car hits the road

Crowd-funded machine goes 12mph and is built from 500,000 pieces of Lego.

By Ben Sullivan

An Australian entrepreneur and a Romanian tech-expert who used more than 500,000 bricks of Lego to build an air-powered car have taken to the road in the crowd-funded automobile.

The project began with a tweet asking people to invest in the "awesome" startup, and ended with a car using four air-powered engines with 256 Lego pistons.

Only the wheels conventional, with all other components made from the famous building toy, Lego.

Co-founder Steve Sammartino told the BBC that he was "neither a car enthusiast nor a Lego enthusiast".

"What I am is a technology enthusiast and I wanted to show what is possible when you crowd-fund an idea and use young talented people," he said.

"I met this crazy Romanian teenager on the web and we came up with the idea but I knew that I couldn’t afford to fund it," he said.


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Sammartino apparently then sent out a tweet which read: "Anyone interested in investing $500 – $1,000 in a project which is awesome and a world first tweet me. Need about 20 participants."

Forty Australians took up the request and the project, named the the Super Awesome Micro project, was started.

"The car was put together in Romania and then shipped to Australia where parts of it were then rebuilt.

Altogether it took 18 months to build.

"We drove it in a suburb of Melbourne. The engine is fragile and the biggest fear was a giant Lego explosion impaling passers-by," Mr Sammartino told the BBC.

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