Bug-Gripping Tools Made from Lego
Entomologists often need to handle existing but aging collections of preserved insects for their work. These samples are fragile in the best circumstances, so they need to be handled very carefully to avoid damaging them, which means that contact with human fingers needs to be minimized. There are tools intended for this purpose, but they’re generally expensive and difficult to work with.
Enter researcher Steen Dupont and a sophisticated brick-building system. Dupont started building bug-handling-rigs out of Lego pieces, which proved to have a number of advantages over commercially available tools. Once mounted in the framework, usually with a gripped pin or cork, Dupont was able to manipulate the exact orientation of the insect very easily. Each rig was also very portable being lightweight and easily dissembled for transport. And of course, if a modification was needed, a few extra bricks could easily be added.
The next series of designs will incorporate a smart phone so that photos can be quickly taken and shared with other researchers. And of course, the designs themselves are being shared so that they can be created by researchers everywhere after a quick trip to the toy aisle.
Source: How scientists are using Lego to handle insects by Henry Nicholls, Animal Magic