One of the biggest problems for those who love to build their own or others’ creations with LEGO bricks and manage, organize and inventory the bulk, or the thousands of bricks of every shape, color and size that many fans accumulate in their own LEGO Room. Did you know that there is an all-Italian solution to this problem called Instabrick?
If it is true that every enthusiast and builder has its own system for cataloging and dividing the raw material of its creations, it is equally true that the starting point is always the same, that is the question “what piece is this?”. There is who divides the pieces first by shape and then by color, those who keep everything in large plastic boxes and every time they need a piece goes to rummage around it, those who divide maniacally the pieces for reference (name and code), color e identification code (LEGO Id) using hyper-professional labeling systems. The answer to the question is crucial to be able to catalog your inventory, because the different types of LEGO elements (shape of the piece, color of the piece, size of the piece) are tens of thousands, the categories into which they are divided are in the hundreds. . There are the brick, i plate, i tile, the hinge, i wedge e i bracket just to name a few. In short, cataloging and inventorying the bricks can be real nightmare.
Luckily there is Instabrick, the first automatic identifier ever made that can help us recognize and catalog our entire inventory.
L’automatic identifier was developed by Getcoo, a startup specializing in artificial intelligence and computer vision. Launched on the famous crowdfounding platform Kickstarter with the name of Piqabrick, is the first automatic LEGO brick identifier ever made. Thanks to artificial intelligence, Instabrick instantly identifies the identification code of the LEGO bricks, simplifying the long and tedious operations of searching and sorting the pieces. All that needs to be done is to place the item to be identified in a special box and start the scan: within seconds both the element code and the color code will be recognized. Furthermore, the platform Instabrick allows you to organize our inventory always have ours stock updated, to always know what to buy if any piece we miss or for to sell in marketplace favorites i pieces that we no longer need or want to add to our inventory.
The Istabrick platform
The fun starts from the box, because the user himself has to build the container on top of which to place the scanning and recognition device: the structure, to be built with bricks and starting from a 16 × 16 studs base, must be 11 bricks high. Instructions for building the container they can be downloaded from the official website of the manufacturer Instabrick.org
The system Istabrick it is therefore composed of two elements: one hardware component, consisting of a special specially designed webcam, which interacts with a software component represented by a web platform accessible from a browser (which makes the solution independent from the operating system of the PC to which the camera is connected). Once the piece framed by the webcam has been identified, thanks to the recognition algorithm developed by Getcoo, the information is transferred to the customized inventory provided by the platform. It can be exported in xml format, to be eventually imported and used in marketplaces, first of all Bricklink.com, the most used by the community of brick enthusiasts. The LEGO brick recognition device is based on the proprietary Dart (Direct Acquisition and ReTrieval) technology developed by Getcoo, which allows automatic identification of objects within images. In practice, it allows direct access to images with the same content, enormously reducing the costs associated with the learning phase of artificial intelligence, making the solution easily scalable and allowing the management of large volumes of references (the individual types of objects, or the different LEGO elements).
Image: scanning and identification of the pieces
Image: choice of drawers in which to add the acquired item
Image: list of drawers created in the inventory
Image: list of items present in the inventory
How does Istabrick work?
Let’s see in summary how Instabrick works.
The main body of Instabrick is a box entirely made with LEGO bricks.
The Cover, which is the actual Instabrick product, contains the eyes of the system and is mounted by placing it and fitting it together (it has been designed so that it can join ai stud which are on top of the brick) over the Box. It consists of a special video camera and a contour of LED lights, which will allow you to acquire sharper and more detailed images.
The video camera
The camera that captures the image of the brick to be recognized was specially designed by the staff of Geetco.
The connection to the PC
Once the cover has been installed above the box, all that remains is to connect the device to the PC: recognition can begin.
The device in operation
When Instabrick is operational, the LEDs inserted into the Cover illuminate the scanning area: now the user can insert the piece to be recognized in the box