Automated brick sculpture construction

Smal, Eugene (2008-12)

Thesis (MSc (Mathematical Sciences))--Stellenbosch University, 2008.


In this thesis we consider the modelling of a particular layout optimisation problem, namely, the LEGO construction problem. The LEGO construction problem, in short, concerns the optimal layout of a set of LEGO bricks to represent a given object. Our goal is to develop a software package which LEGO enthusiasts can use to construct LEGO sculptures for any real-world object. We therefore not only consider the layout optimisation problem, but also the generation of the input data required by the LEGO construction problem. We show that by using 3D geometric models to represent the real-world object, our implemented voxelisation technique delivers accurate input data for the LEGO construction problem. The LEGO construction problem has previously been solved with optimisation techniques based on simulated annealing, evolutionary algorithms, and a beam search approach. These techniques all indicate that it is possible to generate LEGO building instructions for real-world objects, albeit not necessarily in reasonable time. We show that the LEGO construction problem can be modelled easily with cellular automata, provided that cells are considered as clusters which can merge or split during each time step of the evolution of the cellular automaton. We show that the use of cellular automata gives comparable layout results in general, and improves the results in many respects. The cellular automata method requires substantially less memory and generally uses fewer LEGO bricks to construct the LEGO sculpture when using comparable execution times.

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