Lego
Overview
 
Lego is a line of construction toys manufactured by the Lego Group
Lego Group
The LEGO Group is a family-owned company based in Billund, Denmark, and best known for the manufacture of Lego-brand toys.The company was founded in 1932 by Ole Kirk Christiansen...

, a privately held company based in Billund, Denmark
Billund, Denmark
Billund is the second largest town in Billund Municipality, Region of Southern Denmark, Denmark with a population of 6,139 .-Overview:...

. The company's flagship product, Lego, consists of colorful interlocking plastic bricks and an accompanying array of gears, minifigure
Minifigure
A Lego minifigure is a small plastic articulated figurine available as part of the construction toy Lego, produced by Danish toy manufacturer the Lego Group. They were first produced in 1978, and have become hugely successful, with over 3.7 billion produced, and the figure appearing in a variety...

s and various other parts. Lego bricks can be assembled and connected in many ways, to construct such objects as vehicles, buildings, and even working robots. Anything constructed can then be taken apart again, and the pieces used to make other objects.
Encyclopedia
Lego is a line of construction toys manufactured by the Lego Group
Lego Group
The LEGO Group is a family-owned company based in Billund, Denmark, and best known for the manufacture of Lego-brand toys.The company was founded in 1932 by Ole Kirk Christiansen...

, a privately held company based in Billund, Denmark
Billund, Denmark
Billund is the second largest town in Billund Municipality, Region of Southern Denmark, Denmark with a population of 6,139 .-Overview:...

. The company's flagship product, Lego, consists of colorful interlocking plastic bricks and an accompanying array of gears, minifigure
Minifigure
A Lego minifigure is a small plastic articulated figurine available as part of the construction toy Lego, produced by Danish toy manufacturer the Lego Group. They were first produced in 1978, and have become hugely successful, with over 3.7 billion produced, and the figure appearing in a variety...

s and various other parts. Lego bricks can be assembled and connected in many ways, to construct such objects as vehicles, buildings, and even working robots. Anything constructed can then be taken apart again, and the pieces used to make other objects. The toys were originally designed in the 1940s in Denmark and have achieved an international appeal, with an extensive subculture that supports Lego movies, games, video games, competitions, and five Lego theme amusement parks.

Early history

The Lego Group began in the workshop of Ole Kirk Christiansen
Ole Kirk Christiansen
Ole Kirk Christiansen was the 10th son of an impoverished farmer family in Jutland in western Denmark. Born in Filskov, Denmark, he trained as a carpenter and started making wooden toys in 1932 to make a living after having lost his job during the depression. In 1942 a fire broke out at the...

 (7 April 1891 – 11 March 1958), a carpenter from Billund, Denmark, who began making wooden toys in 1932. In 1934, his company came to be called "Lego", from the Danish
Danish language
Danish is a North Germanic language spoken by around six million people, principally in the country of Denmark. It is also spoken by 50,000 Germans of Danish ethnicity in the northern parts of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, where it holds the status of minority language...

 phrase leg godt, which means "play-well".

It expanded to producing plastic toys in 1947. In 1949 Lego began producing the now famous interlocking bricks, calling them "Automatic Binding Bricks". These bricks were based largely on the patent of Kiddicraft Self-Locking Bricks, which were released in the United Kingdom in 1947. Lego modified the design of the Kiddicraft brick after examining a sample given to it by the British supplier of an injection-molding machine that the company had purchased. The bricks, originally manufactured from cellulose acetate
Cellulose acetate
Cellulose acetate , first prepared in 1865, is the acetate ester of cellulose. Cellulose acetate is used as a film base in photography, as a component in some adhesives, and as a frame material for eyeglasses; it is also used as a synthetic fiber and in the manufacture of cigarette filters and...

, were a development of traditional stackable wooden blocks that locked together by means of several round studs on top and a hollow rectangular bottom. The blocks snapped together, but not so tightly that they required extraordinary effort to be separated.

The Lego Group's motto is det bedste er ikke for godt which means roughly 'only the best is good enough' (more literally 'the best is never too good'). This motto was created by Ole Kirk to encourage his employees never to skimp on quality, a value he believed in strongly. The motto is still used within the company today. The use of plastic for toy manufacture was not highly regarded by retailers and consumers of the time. Many of the Lego Group's shipments were returned after poor sales; it was thought that plastic toys could never replace wooden ones.

By 1954, Christiansen's son Godtfred Kirk Christiansen
Godtfred Kirk Christiansen
Godtfred Kirk Christiansen was the son of Ole Kirk Christiansen, the founder of the Lego Group. In 1949 Godtfred Kirk Christiansen bought the patent to the Lego brick and the family started producing plastic bricks as a supplement to the wooden toys...

 had become the junior managing director of the Lego Group. It was his conversation with an overseas buyer that struck the idea of a toy system. Godtfred saw the immense potential in Lego bricks to become a system for creative play but the bricks still had some problems from a technical standpoint: their locking ability was limited and they were not very versatile. In 1958, the modern brick design was developed but it took another five years to find the right material for it, ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene is a common thermoplastic. Its melting point is approximately 105 °C ....

) polymer. The modern Lego brick was patented at 1:58 p.m on 28 January 1958; bricks from that year are still compatible with current bricks.

Design

Lego pieces of all varieties comprise a universal system. Despite variation in the design and purpose of individual pieces over the years, each remains compatible in some way with existing pieces. Lego bricks from 1958 still interlock with those made in the current time, and Lego sets for young children are compatible with those made for teenagers.

Each Lego piece must be manufactured to an exacting degree of precision. When two pieces are engaged they must fit firmly, yet be easily disassembled. The machines that make Lego bricks have tolerances as small as 10 micrometre
Micrometre
A micrometer , is by definition 1×10-6 of a meter .In plain English, it means one-millionth of a meter . Its unit symbol in the International System of Units is μm...

.
Primary concept and development work takes place at the Billund headquarters, where the company employs approximately 120 designers. The company also has smaller design offices in the UK, Spain, Germany, and Japan, which are tasked with developing products aimed specifically at these markets. The average development period for a new product is around twelve months, in three stages. The first stage is to identify market trends and developments, including contact by the designers directly with the market; some are stationed in toy shops close to holiday periods, while others interview children. The second stage is the design and development of the product based upon the results of the first stage. As of September 2008 the design teams use 3D modeling
3D modeling
In 3D computer graphics, 3D modeling is the process of developing a mathematical representation of any three-dimensional surface of object via specialized software. The product is called a 3D model...

 software to generate CAD
Computer-aided design
Computer-aided design , also known as computer-aided design and drafting , is the use of computer technology for the process of design and design-documentation. Computer Aided Drafting describes the process of drafting with a computer...

 drawings from initial design sketches. The designs are then prototyped using an in-house stereolithography
Stereolithography
Stereolithography is an additive manufacturing technology for producing models, prototypes, patterns, and in some cases, production parts.-Technology description:...

 machine. These are presented to the entire project team for comment and for testing by parents and children during the "validation" process. Designs may then be altered in accordance with the results from the focus groups. Virtual models of completed Lego products are built concurrently with the writing of the user instructions. Completed CAD models are also used in the wider organization, such as for marketing and packaging.

Manufacture

Since 1963, Lego pieces have been manufactured from a strong, resilient plastic known as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene is a common thermoplastic. Its melting point is approximately 105 °C ....

 (ABS).
As of September 2008, the engineers use the NX CAD/CAM
Computer-aided manufacturing
Computer-aided manufacturing is the use of computer software to control machine tools and related machinery in the manufacturing of workpieces. This is not the only definition for CAM, but it is the most common; CAM may also refer to the use of a computer to assist in all operations of a...

/CAE
Computer-aided engineering
Computer-aided engineering is the broad usage of computer software to aid in engineering tasks. It includes computer-aided design , computer-aided analysis , computer-integrated manufacturing , computer-aided manufacturing , material requirements planning , and computer-aided planning .- Overview...

 PLM
Product lifecycle management
In industry, product lifecycle management is the process of managing the entire lifecycle of a product from its conception, through design and manufacture, to service and disposal...

 software suite to model the elements. The software allows the parts to be optimized by way of mold flow and stress analysis
Stress analysis
Stress analysis is an engineering discipline that determines the stress in materials and structures subjected to static or dynamic forces or loads. A stress analysis is required for the study and design of structures, e.g., tunnels, dams, mechanical parts, and structural frames among others, under...

. Prototype molds are sometimes built before the design is committed to mass production. The ABS plastic is heated to 232 °C (450 °F) until at a dough
Dough
Dough is a paste made out of any cereals or leguminous crops by mixing flour with a small amount of water and/or other liquid. This process is a precursor to making a wide variety of foodstuffs, particularly breads and bread-based items , flatbreads, noodles, pastry, and similar items)...

-like consistency. It is then injected into the molds at pressures between 25 and 150 tons, and takes approximately 15 seconds to cool. The molds are permitted a tolerance of up to two micrometres, to ensure the bricks remain connected. Human inspectors check the output of the molds, to eliminate significant variations in color or thickness. According to the Lego Group, about eighteen bricks out of every million fail to meet the standard required. Lego factories recycle all but about 1 percent of their plastic waste from the manufacturing process every year. If the plastic cannot be re-used in Lego bricks, it is processed and sold on to industries that can make use of it.

Manufacturing of Lego bricks occurs at a number of locations around the world. Molding is done in Billund, Denmark
Billund, Denmark
Billund is the second largest town in Billund Municipality, Region of Southern Denmark, Denmark with a population of 6,139 .-Overview:...

, Nyíregyháza
Nyíregyháza
- Tourist sights :Nyíregyháza also has several museums and exhibitions, showing the city's rich cultural heritage.* Collection of the International Medallion Art and Small Sculpture Creative Community of Nyíregyháza-Sóstó – periodic exhibitions of works of contemporary artists-Twin towns — Sister...

, Hungary and Monterrey
Monterrey
Monterrey , is the capital city of the northeastern state of Nuevo León in the country of Mexico. The city is anchor to the third-largest metropolitan area in Mexico and is ranked as the ninth-largest city in the nation. Monterrey serves as a commercial center in the north of the country and is the...

, Mexico. Brick decorations and packaging is done at plants in Denmark, Hungary, Mexico and Kladno
Kladno
Kladno is a city in the Central Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic. It is located 25 km northwest of Prague. Kladno is the largest city of the region and holds a population together with its adjacent suburban areas of more than 110,000 people...

 in the Czech Republic. The Lego Group estimates that in the course of five decades it has produced some 400 billion Lego blocks. Annual production of Lego bricks averages approximately 36 billion per year, or about 1140 elements per second. If all the Lego bricks ever produced were to be divided equally among a world population
World population
The world population is the total number of living humans on the planet Earth. As of today, it is estimated to be  billion by the United States Census Bureau...

 of six billion, each person would have 62 Lego bricks.
According to an article in BusinessWeek
BusinessWeek
Bloomberg Businessweek, commonly and formerly known as BusinessWeek, is a weekly business magazine published by Bloomberg L.P. It is currently headquartered in New York City.- History :...

in 2006, Lego could be considered the world's No. 1 tire manufacturer; the factory produces about 306 million tiny rubber tires a year.

Today

Since it began producing plastic bricks, the Lego Group has released thousands of sets with a variety of themes, including town and city, space
Lego Space
The Lego Space theme features astronauts and spaceships. It was introduced in 1978. Space was one of the most expansive themes in Lego history, and contained over 200 individual sets. It was marketed under the Legoland banner until 1991...

, robots, pirates
Lego Pirates
Pirates is a Lego theme launched in 1989 featuring pirates, soldiers, islanders and sailing ships. The theme has been seen in minifigure scale, Duplo and the 4+ theme....

, trains
Lego Trains
Lego Trains is a product range and theme of the construction toy Lego, which incorporates buildable train sets. Products in the range have included locomotives, tracks, rolling stock, train stations, signal houses, and other track-side buildings. The theme is popular among adult fans, as well as...

, Vikings
Lego Vikings
Vikings is a stand-alone theme originally released in Fall of 2005. It is based upon the Norse warriors most commonly referred to as Vikings, as well as their mythology.- Land of the Vikings :...

, castle
Lego Castle
Lego Castle is a Lego theme featuring knights and castles. It was introduced in 1978 and continues to the . Lego Castle sets were marketed under the Legoland banner until 1991. Lego decided to change and add Lego System in 1992, but was dropped after 1999. The year 2008 marked 30 years since the...

, dinosaurs, undersea exploration
Lego Aquazone
Aquazone is a toy theme by Lego consisting of submarine vehicles and aquatic animals, with minifigures designed for submarine adventures.-Aquanauts :*1728/6145 Crystal Crawler/Aquanaut Turbo AmphiMinifigures: Aquanaut...

, and wild west
Lego Wild West
Lego Wild West is a Lego theme based on the settling of the Western United States . Various minifigures were introduced, including wranglers, sheriffs, US Cavalry, bandits and Indians. The Wild West sets were also the first to include revolvers and rifles, which were later used in the Adventurers...

.

New elements are often released along with new sets. There are also Lego sets designed to appeal to young girls such as the Belville and Clikits lines which consists of small interlocking parts that are meant to encourage creativity and arts and crafts, much like regular Lego bricks. Belville and Clikit pieces can interlock with regular Lego bricks as decorative elements.

While there are sets which can be seen to have a military theme – such as Star Wars, the German and Russian soldiers in the Indiana Jones sets, the Toy Story green soldiers and Lego Castle – there are no directly military-themed sets in any line. This is following Ole Kirk Christiansen's policy of not wanting to make war seem like child's play.

The Lego range has expanded to encompass accessory motors, gears, lights, sensors, and cameras designed to be used with Lego components. Motors, battery packs, lights and switches are sold under the name Power Functions. The Technic line utilizes newer types of interlocking connections that are still compatible with the older brick type connections. The Technic line can often be motorized with Power Functions.

Bionicle
Bionicle
Bionicle is a line of toys by the LEGO Group marketed primarily for 5- to 16-year-olds. The line was launched on December 30, 2000 in Europe and June/July 2001 in Canada and the United States. "Bionicle" is a portmanteau constructed from the words "biological" and "chronicle"...

 is a line of toys by the Lego Group that is marketed towards those in the 7–16 year-old age range. The line was launched in January 2001 in Europe and June/July 2001 in the United States. The Bionicle idea originated from the earlier toy lines Slizers (also known as Throwbots) and Roboriders. Both of these lines had similar throwing disks and characters based on classical element
Classical element
Many philosophies and worldviews have a set of classical elements believed to reflect the simplest essential parts and principles of which anything consists or upon which the constitution and fundamental powers of anything are based. Most frequently, classical elements refer to ancient beliefs...

s. The sets in the Bionicle line have increased in size and flexibility through the years. Bionicle was replaced with Hero Factory
Hero Factory
Hero Factory is a line of toys by the LEGO Group marketed primarily at 6 to 16-year-olds. It was created in response to the decision to discontinue the Bionicle theme in early 2010.-Production:...

 in 2010.

The Lego group's Duplo
Lego Duplo
Duplo is a product range of the construction toy Lego, designed for children aged 1½ to 6 years old. Duplo bricks are twice the length, height and width of traditional Lego bricks , as a result being easier to handle – as well as being far harder to swallow – by younger children...

 product line, introduced in 1969, is a range of simple blocks which measure twice the width, height and depth of standard Lego blocks, and are aimed at younger children.

'Fabuland' ran from 1979 to 1989. The more advanced 'Lego Technic
Lego Technic
Technic is a line of Lego interconnecting plastic rods and parts. The purpose of this series is to create more advanced models with more complex movable arms, such as machines with wheels, in addition to the simpler brick-building properties of normal Lego....

' was launched in 1977. 'Lego Primo' is a line of blocks by the Lego Group for very young children that ran between 2004 and 2006. In 1995 'Lego Baby
Lego Baby
Lego Baby is a line of bricks by the Lego Group for very young children.In the past it was sold first as Duplo Primo then as Lego Primo and became Lego Baby from 2000....

' was launched for babies.

One of the largest Lego sets ever commercially produced is a minifig-scaled edition of the Star Wars
Star Wars
Star Wars is an American epic space opera film series created by George Lucas. The first film in the series was originally released on May 25, 1977, under the title Star Wars, by 20th Century Fox, and became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon, followed by two sequels, released at three-year...

 Millennium Falcon
Millennium Falcon
The Millennium Falcon is a spacecraft in the Star Wars universe commanded by smuggler Han Solo and his Wookiee first mate, Chewbacca...

. Designed by Jens Kronvold Fredericksen, it was released in 2007 and has 5,195 pieces. It was surpassed, though, by a 5,922 piece Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal is a white Marble mausoleum located in Agra, India. It was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal...

.

In May 2011, Space Shuttle Endeavour
Space Shuttle Endeavour
Space Shuttle Endeavour is one of the retired orbiters of the Space Shuttle program of NASA, the space agency of the United States. Endeavour was the fifth and final spaceworthy NASA space shuttle to be built, constructed as a replacement for Challenger...

 mission STS-134
STS-134
STS-134 was the penultimate mission of NASA's Space Shuttle program. The mission marked the 25th and final flight of . This flight delivered the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and an ExPRESS Logistics Carrier to the International Space Station. Mark Kelly served as the mission commander...

 brought 13 Lego kits to the International Space Station
International Space Station
The International Space Station is a habitable, artificial satellite in low Earth orbit. The ISS follows the Salyut, Almaz, Cosmos, Skylab, and Mir space stations, as the 11th space station launched, not including the Genesis I and II prototypes...

, where astronauts will build models and see how they react in microgravity, as part of the Lego Bricks in Space program. The results will be shared with schools as part of an educational project.

Licensed themes

Over the years, Lego has licensed themes from several cartoon and film franchises. These include Avatar: The Last Airbender
Lego Avatar: The Last Airbender
Lego Avatar: The Last Airbender was a Lego theme based on the Nickelodeon television show Avatar: The Last Airbender. It was a short-lived theme, as only two sets came out in 2006, with set designs based on the first season only...

, Batman
Lego Batman
Lego Batman is a theme and product range of the Lego construction toy, introduced in 2006, based on the superhero character Batman, under license from DC Comics. The sets feature vehicles, characters and scenes from the comics and films. The inspirations for the design of these varies widely...

, Ben 10
Lego Ben 10
Lego Ben 10, was a Lego theme based on the animated television series Ben 10: Alien Force. There were the total of six sets of buildable figures similar to Bionicle. The line had only lasted one wave before being discontinued...

, Cars
Cars (film)
Cars is a 2006 American animated family film produced by Pixar and directed by John Lasseter and co-directed by Joe Ranft. It is the seventh Disney·Pixar feature film, and Pixar's final, independently-produced motion picture before its purchase by Disney...

, Harry Potter
Lego Harry Potter
iLego Harry Potter is a Lego theme based on the films of the Harry Potter series. Lego models of important scenes, vehicles and characters were made for the first six films and all the books released...

, Indiana Jones
Lego Indiana Jones
Lego Indiana Jones is a Lego theme based on the Indiana Jones film franchise, licensed from Lucasfilm. The exclusive franchise was first announced in June 2007, and followed the successful Lego Star Wars franchise, also with Lucasfilm...

, Pirates of the Caribbean
Lego Pirates of the Caribbean
Lego Pirates of the Caribbean is a Lego theme that is based on the film series of the same name. There are a total of 9 sets that are known. The first wave was released on May 2011 with the second wave coming out on November 2011....

, Prince of Persia
Lego Prince of Persia
Lego Prince of Persia is a Lego theme based on the video game Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and the film of the same name. The first sets were released in April 2010.-Promotion and release:...

, Speed Racer
Lego Speed Racer
Lego Speed Racer is a 2008 Lego theme based on the 2008 film Speed Racer . It consists of four sets which were first released in April 2008.-Overview:...

, Spider-Man, SpongeBob SquarePants, Star Wars
Lego Star Wars
Lego Star Wars is a Lego theme that incorporates the Star Wars saga. The first Lego Star Wars, released in 1999, included model 7140, the first Lego X-Wing. Star Wars was the first intellectual property to be licensed in Lego Group history . The first few sets based on the original trilogy were...

, Thomas the Tank Engine, and Toy Story
Lego Toy Story
Lego Toy Story, is a Lego theme based on the Disney·Pixar's Toy Story film franchise. The first four sets were released on December 30, 2009, with an additional two sets being released on January 4, 2010. In May, five Lego and four Duplo sets were released under the Toy Story 3 sub-theme.-Lego:The...

.

Although some of the licensed themes, such as Lego Star Wars and Lego Indiana Jones, have had highly successful sales, Lego has expressed a desire to rely more upon their own characters and classic themes, and less upon licensed themes related to movie releases.

Robotics sets

Lego initiated a robotics
Robotics
Robotics is the branch of technology that deals with the design, construction, operation, structural disposition, manufacture and application of robots...

 line of toys called 'Mindstorms' in 1998, and has continued to expand and update this range ever since. The roots of the product originate from a programmable brick developed at the MIT Media Lab
MIT Media Lab
The MIT Media Lab is a laboratory of MIT School of Architecture and Planning. Devoted to research projects at the convergence of design, multimedia and technology, the Media Lab has been widely popularized since the 1990s by business and technology publications such as Wired and Red Herring for a...

, and the name is taken from a paper by Seymour Papert
Seymour Papert
Seymour Papert is an MIT mathematician, computer scientist, and educator. He is one of the pioneers of artificial intelligence, as well as an inventor of the Logo programming language....

, a computer scientist and educator who developed the educational theory of constructionism, and whose research was at times funded by the Lego Group.

The programmable Lego brick which is at the heart of these robotics sets has undergone several updates and redesigned, with the latest being called the 'NXT' brick, being sold under the brand name of Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0
Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0
Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0 is the newest set from LEGO's Lego Mindstorms series, launched on August 5, 2009 at the Lego Shop in the U.S. The set contains 619 pieces, including a new sensor that can detect colors. It is priced at approximately 280 US $ or 230 £....

. The set includes sensors that detect touch, light, sound and ultrasonic waves, with several others being sold separately, including an RFID reader.

The intelligent brick can be programmed using official software available for Windows
Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Windows is a series of operating systems produced by Microsoft.Microsoft introduced an operating environment named Windows on November 20, 1985 as an add-on to MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces . Microsoft Windows came to dominate the world's personal...

 and Mac
Mac OS X
Mac OS X is a series of Unix-based operating systems and graphical user interfaces developed, marketed, and sold by Apple Inc. Since 2002, has been included with all new Macintosh computer systems...

 computers, and is downloaded onto the brick via Bluetooth
Bluetooth
Bluetooth is a proprietary open wireless technology standard for exchanging data over short distances from fixed and mobile devices, creating personal area networks with high levels of security...

 or a USB cable. There are also several unofficial programs and compatible programming languages that have been made to work with the brick, and many books have been written to support this community.

There are several robotics competitions which use the Lego robotics sets. The earliest is Botball
Botball
Botball is an educational robotics program that focuses on engaging middle and high school aged students in team-oriented robotics competitions. Thousands of children and young adults participate in Botball’s program...

, a national U.S. middle
Middle school
Middle School and Junior High School are levels of schooling between elementary and high schools. Most school systems use one term or the other, not both. The terms are not interchangeable...

- and high-school competition stemming from the MIT 6.270 Lego robotics tournament. Other Lego robotics competitions include Junior FIRST LEGO League
Junior FIRST Lego League
Junior FIRST LEGO League is a non-competitive robotics program designed for children ages six to nine. It is one of the programs established by FIRST.Jr.FLL follows the same topics given to FIRST LEGO League...

 (Jr.FLL) for students ages 6-9, and FIRST Lego League
FIRST Lego League
The FIRST® LEGO® League is an international competition organized by FIRST for elementary and middle school students ....

 (FLL) for students ages 9-14. Jr.FLL and FLL offer real-world engineering challenges to participants. FLL uses Lego-based robots to complete tasks. Jr.FLL participants build models out of Lego elements. In its 2010 season, there were 16,070 FLL teams in over 55 countries. In its 2010 season, there were 2,147 Jr.FLL teams with 12,882 total student participants in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

  The international RoboCup Junior
RoboCup Junior
RoboCup Junior is a division of RoboCup, a not-for-profit robotics organisation. It focuses on education and aims to introduce the larger goals of the RoboCup project to primary and secondary school aged children...

 football competition involves extensive use of Lego Mindstorms
Lego Mindstorms
The LEGO Mindstorm series of kits contain software and hardware to create small, customizable and programmable robots. They include a programmable 'Brick' computer that controls the system, a set of modular sensors and motors, and LEGO parts from the Technics line to create the mechanical...

 equipment which is often pushed to its extreme limits.

Related products and services

The Lego Group has used the Lego toy system to branch out into a number of other areas.

Video games

Lego has branched out into the videogames market with a number of titles, including Lego Star Wars: The Video Game
LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game
Lego Star Wars: The Video Game is a video game based on the Star Wars themed toy line by the Lego Group and the first game in TT Games' Lego videogame franchise. It takes place during the prequel trilogy , with a bonus segment from A New Hope...

, Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy, Bionicle: The Game
Bionicle: The Game
Bionicle: The Game is an action-adventure video game released in 2003. The game is based on the movie Bionicle: Mask of Light and other parts of the Bionicle storyline, but the game not actually based on the film. Initially, the game was supposed to make each Toa, Toa Nuva, and the Toa of Light...

 Bionicle Heroes
Bionicle Heroes
Bionicle Heroes is a 3D video game of the third-person shooter genre, based on Lego popular Bionicle franchise. It was released in November 2006 by TT Games on PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, Nintendo GameCube, Microsoft Windows and It was released in November 2006 by Amaze Entertainment on Game Boy...

as well as the Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga
Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga
Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga is a video game based on the Star Wars-themed toy line by the Lego Group. It is a combination of the game Lego Star Wars: The Video Game and its sequel Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy...

and Lego Indiana Jones
Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures
Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures is a 2008 video game developed by Traveller's Tales and published by LucasArts. The game allows players to recreate moments from the first three Indiana Jones films: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and Indiana Jones and the...

, a Lego Batman, Lego Battles
Lego Battles
LEGO Battles is a video game developed by Hellbent Games and co-published by TT Games. It was released on June 9, 2009 for the Nintendo DS. There are a total of three different stories in the game, each with the option of playing as the protagonists or the antagonists...

and the Lego Universe
Lego Universe
Lego Universe is a massively multiplayer online game developed by NetDevil. The game was released on October 26, 2010, with an early opening for LEGO "Founders", which consisted of users who pre-ordered the game. It is globally distributed by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment...

MMOG. Lego Harry Potter: Years 1–4
Lego Harry Potter: Years 1–4
Lego Harry Potter: Years 1–4 is a 2010 video game in the Lego video game franchise, developed by Traveller's Tales and published by Warner Bros...

was released in June 2010, and Lego Rock Band
Lego Rock Band
Lego Rock Band is a music video game and part of the Rock Band series developed by Harmonix Music Systems, but also incorporates elements from other Lego video games as developed by Traveller's Tales. The game is published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and MTV Games...

was released in autumn of 2009. Another game announced is Lego Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues
Lego Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues
Lego Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues is a 2009 video game developed by Traveller's Tales and published by LucasArts. It is the sequel to the 2008 game, Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures...

including Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and total remakes of the other movie's levels was released in 2009. More Lego video games are Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars
Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars
LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars is a 2011 Lego game for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, Xbox 360, Wii, Nintendo DS, PC and Nintendo 3DS consoles based on The Clone Wars animated series, developed by Traveller's Tales and published by LucasArts and TT Games, released in March 2011 and is...

, based on the first and second seasons of The Clone Wars
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008 TV series)
-Production:At April 2005's Star Wars Celebration III, Lucas stated that "we are working on a 3-D continuation of the pilot series that was on the Cartoon Network; we probably won't start that project for another year." In July 2005, pre-production had begun on the series, according to Steve...

 and "Lego Battles: Ninjago" based on the short video clips on the website. The newest addition to the LEGO video game series is Lego Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game
Lego Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game
LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game is a video game in the Lego video game franchise, developed by Traveller's Tales and published by Disney Interactive Studios and the first Lego game from a Disney movie...

, where you can play all four movies including Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is a 2011 adventure fantasy film and the fourth installment in the Pirates of the Caribbean series...

.

Lego Digital Designer
Lego Digital Designer
LEGO Digital Designer, or LDD, is a free computer program produced by the LEGO Group as a part of LEGO Design byME. It is available for Mac and Windows platforms. The program allows users to build models using virtual LEGO bricks, in a computer-aided design like manner...

 is an official piece of Lego software for Mac OS X and Windows which allows users to build with Lego bricks on their computers. Users can then publish their creations online on the Lego Design by Me website, or purchase the physical bricks to build them. Lego Digital Designer includes some Lego products which only exist online, including models for the children's television programs TUGS
TUGS
TUGS is a British children's television series, first broadcast in 1988. It was created by the producers of Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends, Robert D. Cardona and David Mitton. The series dealt with the adventures of two anthropomorphized tugboat fleets, the Star Fleet and the Z-Stacks, who...

, Thomas and Friends and Speed Racer
Speed Racer
Speed Racer is an English adaptation name of the Japanese manga and anime, which centered on automobile racing. Mach GoGoGo was originally serialized in print form in Shueisha's 1958 Shōnen Book, and was released in tankōbon book form by Sun Wide Comics, re-released in Japan by Fusosha...

.

Official website

First launched in 1996, the Lego website has developed over the years, and provides many extra services beyond a shop and product catalog. There are moderated message boards, founded in 2001.

My Lego Network is a social networking site that involves items, blueprints, ranks, badges which are earned for completing certain tasks, trading and trophies called masterpieces which allow users to progress to go to the next rank. The website has a built in inbox which allows users to send prewritten messages to one another. The Lego Network includes automated non-player character
Non-player character
A non-player character , sometimes known as a non-person character or non-playable character, in a game is any fictional character not controlled by a player. In electronic games, this usually means a character controlled by the computer through artificial intelligence...

s within called "Networkers", who are able to do things which normal users cannot do, such as sending custom messages, and selling masterpieces and blueprints. The site also has modules which are set up on the user's page to 'grow' certain things, for showing picture compositions or both. The site includes instructions booklets for all Lego sets dating back to 2002.

Business consultancy

Since around 2000, the Lego Group has been promoting 'Lego Serious Play', a form of business consultancy fostering creative thinking, in which team members build metaphors of their organizational identities and experiences using Lego bricks. Participants work through imaginary scenarios using visual three-dimensional Lego constructions, imaginatively exploring possibilities in a serious form of play.

Theme parks


Merlin Entertainments
Merlin Entertainments
Merlin Entertainments Group Ltd is a British operator of amusement parks and other attractions. It is the largest such company in Europe, and globally the second largest after Walt Disney Parks and Resorts....

 operates five Legoland
Legoland
Legoland is a chain of Lego-themed theme parks. They are not fully owned by Lego Group itself; rather they are owned and operated by the British theme park company Merlin Entertainment.The chain currently consists of:* Legoland Billund...

 amusement parks, the original in Billund
Billund
Billund Kommune is a municipality in Region of Southern Denmark in the center of the Jutland Peninsula of Denmark. Formerly the municipality belonged to Ribe County. The new, merged municipality covers an area of 155 km², and has a total population of 26.172 . Its mayor is Ib Kristensen, a member...

, Denmark, the second in Windsor
Windsor, Berkshire
Windsor is an affluent suburban town and unparished area in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in Berkshire, England. It is widely known as the site of Windsor Castle, one of the official residences of the British Royal Family....

, England, the third in Günzburg
Günzburg
Günzburg is a Große Kreisstadt and capital of the district of Günzburg in Swabia, Bavaria. This district was constituted in 1972 by combining the city of Günzburg—which had not previously been assigned to a Kreis —with the district of Günzburg and the district of Krumbach.Günzburg lies...

, Germany, the fourth in Carlsbad, California, and the fifth in Winter Haven, Florida. On 13 July 2005, the control of 70% of the Legoland parks was sold for $460 million to the Blackstone Group
Blackstone Group
The Blackstone Group L.P. is an American-based alternative asset management and financial services company that specializes in private equity, real estate, and credit and marketable alternative investment strategies, as well as financial advisory services, such as mergers and acquisitions ,...

 of New York while the remaining 30% is still held by Lego Group. There are also four Legoland Discovery Centers, two in Germany (Duisburg and Berlin), one in Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

, Illinois, and one in Manchester, UK. Two new Legoland Discovery Centers are scheduled to open in 2011: one in Dallas, Texas. Another will open in Kansas City
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri is the largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri and is the anchor city of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, the second largest metropolitan area in Missouri. It encompasses in parts of Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte counties...

 in 2012.

Retail stores

Lego operates 46 retail stores (34 in the United States, five in the United Kingdom, five in Germany, one in Canada, and one in Denmark), including ones at the Downtown Disney
Downtown Disney
Downtown Disney is the name of two outdoor shopping, dining, and entertainment complexes located at two Disney resorts:* Downtown Disney , at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida...

 shopping complexes at Disneyland
Disneyland Resort
The Disneyland Resort is a recreational resort in Anaheim, California. The resort is owned and operated by The Walt Disney Company through its Parks and Resorts division and is home to two theme parks, three hotels and a shopping, dining, and entertainment area known as Downtown Disney.The area now...

 and Walt Disney World Resort
Walt Disney World Resort
Walt Disney World Resort , is the world's most-visited entertaimental resort. Located in Lake Buena Vista, Florida ; approximately southwest of Orlando, Florida, United States, the resort covers an area of and includes four theme parks, two water parks, 23 on-site themed resort hotels Walt...

s as well as in the Mall of America
Mall of America
The Mall of America, also called MOA and the Megamall, is a shopping mall located in Bloomington, Minnesota, a suburb of the Twin Cities, in the United States. It is located southeast of the junction of Interstate 494 and Minnesota State Highway 77, north of the Minnesota River and is across the...

 in Bloomington
Bloomington, Minnesota
Bloomington is the fifth largest city in the U.S. state of Minnesota in Hennepin County. Located on the north bank of the Minnesota River above its confluence with the Mississippi River, Bloomington lies at the heart of the southern...

, Minnesota. On 24 November 2010, a Lego retail store was opened in Lima
Lima
Lima is the capital and the largest city of Peru. It is located in the valleys of the Chillón, Rímac and Lurín rivers, in the central part of the country, on a desert coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Together with the seaport of Callao, it forms a contiguous urban area known as the Lima...

, Peru, at Jockey Plaza Shopping Center. The opening of each store is celebrated with weekend long event where a Master Model Builder creates, with the help of volunteers most of who are children, a larger than life Lego statue which is then displayed at the new store for several weeks.

Three of the recently opened Lego stores incorporate a new idea for the Lego retail side called Lego education. At these three stores (which are located in Concord North Carolina, Hanover Maryland, and Berlin Germany) there are separate areas to the side of the store that are used as classrooms where specially trained facilitators teach children ranging from 4–12 years old about numerous different subjects while using Lego product. This new concept is being tested, and has only been around for about 8 months.

Children's clothes

Since 1993 LEGOwear Clothes have been produced and marketed by a Danish company called Kabooki under license from Lego Group. The clothes are for boys and girls from 0–12 years old and the partnership also ties in with other Lego products such as Bionicle.

Board games

Lego Games
Lego Games
Lego Games is a product range of the construction toy Lego, which focuses on a series of playable games of different types, all of which use Lego bricks, and use the Lego concept of building to encourage players to change adapt the rules of the games....

 launched in 2009–2010, and is a series of Lego-themed board games designed by Cephas Howard and Reiner Knizia
Reiner Knizia
Reiner Knizia is a prolific German-style board game designer. Born in Germany, he developed his first game at the age of eight. He has a PhD in mathematics, and has been a full-time game designer since 1997, when he quit his job from the board of a large international bank...

 in which the players usually build the playing board out of Lego bricks and then play with Lego-style players. Some of the games are Race 3000, Wild Wool, Minotaurus, Magikus, Monster 4, Lava Dragon, Pirate Code, Ramses Pyramid, Atlantis Treasure, Robo Champ, Orient Bazaar, and Creationary. Like many board games, the games utilize dice
Dice
A die is a small throwable object with multiple resting positions, used for generating random numbers...

. However, in Lego Games, the die is Lego, with Lego squares with symbols on Lego studs on the die. The games vary from simple to complex, some are similar to "traditional" board games, while others are completely different.

Films and television

In the past, Lego has turned down approaches from Hollywood to make a feature-length film based on the toy. However, this stance has since softened. A number of straight-to-DVD computer animated Bionicle and Hero Factory movies have been produced. A movie called LEGO: The Adventures of Clutch Powers
Lego: The Adventures of Clutch Powers
Lego: The Adventures of Clutch Powers is a 2010 American CGI comedy-adventure film. The film is based on the toy series of the same name, Lego. It's the first movie in the Clutch Powers series. It is a homage to the former president of Lego, Kjeld Kristiansen with one of the characters of the movie...

was released on DVD in February 2010. This was a completely computer-animated film made by Tinseltown Toons. It is a crossover movie comprising many Lego themes.

A feature film adaptation of the Lego world has been in development at Warner Bros. since 2008. In August 2009, it was announced that Dan and Kevin Hageman were writing the script for a comedy action adventure live-action/animated film. Phil Lord and Chris Miller
Phil Lord and Chris Miller
Phil Lord and Chris Miller are a American film and television writers, producers, directors and actors. Lord and Miller met each other while at Dartmouth College...

 were hired in June 2010, to write and direct the film. In November 2011, it was reported that Warner Bros. has green-lighted the film, with a schedule to release it in 2014. Australian Animal Logic
Animal Logic
Animal Logic is an Australian digital visual effects company based at Fox Studios in Sydney, Australia and Santa Monica, California. Established in 1991, Animal Logic's core business has traditionally been the design and production of high-end visual effects for commercials and television programs,...

 will provide the animation, which is expected to comprise 80% of the film. Chris McKay, the director of Robot Chicken
Robot Chicken
Robot Chicken is an American stop motion animated television series created and executive produced by Seth Green and Matthew Senreich along with co-head writers Douglas Goldstein and Tom Root. Green provides many voices for the show...

, has also joined Lord and Miller to co-direct the film.

Books and magazines

Lego has an ongoing deal with publisher Dorling Kindersley
Dorling Kindersley
Dorling Kindersley is an international publishing company specializing in illustrated reference books for adults and children in 51 languages. It is currently part of the Penguin Group....

 (DK), who are producing a series of illustrated hardback books looking at different aspects of the construction toy. The first was The Ultimate Lego Book, published in 1999. More recently, in 2009, the same publisher produced The LEGO Book, which was sold within a slipcase along with Standing Small: A celebration of 30 years of the LEGO minifigure, a smaller book focused on the minifigure. In same year, DK also published books on Lego Star Wars (Lego Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary) and a range of Lego-based sticker books.

Although no longer being published in the United States by Scholastic, books covering events in the BIONICLE storyline are written by Greg Farshtey
Greg Farshtey
Gregory Todd Farshtey is an American writer, best known for his work on the Bionicle series of novels and the Bionicle comics .-Literary career:...

. They are still being published in Europe by AMEET. BIONICLE comics, also written by Farshtey, are compiled into graphic novels and were released by Papercutz. This series ended in 2009, after nine years. There is also the Lego Club and Brickmaster magazine.

In popular culture

Lego's popularity is demonstrated by its wide representation and usage in many forms of cultural works, including books, films and art work. It has even been used in the classroom as a teaching tool. In the USA, LEGO Education North America is a joint venture between Pitsco, Inc. and the educational division of the LEGO Group.

In 1998, Lego bricks were inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame
National Toy Hall of Fame
The National Toy Hall of Fame is an American hall of fame that recognizes the contributions of toys and games that have sustained their popularity for many years...

 at The Strong
The Strong
The Strong is an interactive, collections-based educational institution in Rochester, New York, USA, devoted to the study and exploration of play...

 in Rochester, New York
Rochester, New York
Rochester is a city in Monroe County, New York, south of Lake Ontario in the United States. Known as The World's Image Centre, it was also once known as The Flour City, and more recently as The Flower City...

.

Further reading

  • Bagnall, Brian. "Maximum LEGO NXT: Building Robots with Java Brains". Variant Press. 2007. ISBN 0-9738649-1-5
  • Bagnall, Brian. "Core LEGO Mindstorms". Prentice-Hall PTR. 2002. ISBN 0-13-009364-5
  • Bedford, Allan. The Unofficial LEGO Builder's Guide. San Francisco: No Starch Press, 2005. ISBN 1-59327-054-2.
  • Clague, Kevin, Miguel Agullo, and Lars C. Hassing. LEGO Software Power Tools, With LDraw, MLCad, and LPub. 2003. ISBN 1-931836-76-0
  • Courtney, Tim, Ahui Herrera and Steve Bliss. Virtual LEGO: The Official LDraw.org Guide to LDraw Tools for Windows. San Francisco: No Starch Press, 2003. ISBN 1-886411-94-8.
  • McKee, Jacob H. Getting Started with LEGO Trains. San Francisco: No Starch Press, 2003. ISBN 1-59327-006-2.
  • Ferrari, Mario, Giulio Ferrari, and Ralph Hempel. Building Robots With LEGO Mindstorms: The Ultimate Tool for Mindstorms Maniacs. 2001. ISBN 1-928994-67-9.
  • Kristiansen, Kjeld Kirk, foreword. The Ultimate LEGO Book. New York: DK Publishing Book, 1999. ISBN 0-7894-4691-X.
  • Wiencek, Henry. The World of LEGO Toys. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, 1987. ISBN 0-8109-2362-9.
  • Pilegaard, Ulrik, and Dooley, Mike. "Forbidden LEGO". San Francisco: No Starch Press, 2007. ISBN 1-59327-137-9
  • Willicense, . "The LEGO Incorporation: How LEGO Started" ISBN 0-18361-46372
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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