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Legonimals

Modular animals
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We are gradually getting the hang of tissue engineering: we can grow a variety of tissues in a variety of shapes, and we are beginning to understand how to create mixed-tissue systems. Before long, we'll be able to grow fairly complex biological structures.

The medical implications are all well and good, but what about the toy market?

I propose that we start developing Legonimals - a modular animal construction kit. Your starter kit would contain muscle blocks in various sizes, tubular bones, ball-and-socket joints, hinge- joints, skin sheets, digestive tubes, ganglia in three different sizes, a heart, lungs, gills, a proboscis and a selection of ears (eyes would be purchased seperately, at considerable cost). Each module has standard mechanical couplings, and input/ output ports for blood (red and blue coded) and neural connections. The box in which they are packaged would include a docking station providing oxygenated blood and minimal nutrients to all parts during storage.

With this starter kit, you could build (for example) a cute little elephant-trunk would scuttle towards sounds, or a combination fish/crane, or compete with your friends to build the fastest pentapedal ear.

Extension kits could include (besides eyes) a corpus callosum to link multiple ganglia, alternative skin kits (scales, feathers), balance organs (important if you want to build the Hopping Monopod), wings, endocrine organs and receptors, luminescent organs etc.

Hours of fun for all the family. And remember, insist on genuine Legonimal components - peace of mind against rejection.
Basepair, May 05 2005

Crane http://www.npwrc.us...cranes/grusgrus.htm
[coprocephalous, May 06 2005]

random info http://www.900ckbi....ia_tuesday_file.htm
this stuff is kinda cool. [daseva, May 06 2005]

Legonimals - the game http://www.purple-p...kery/legonimals.jpg
I'd buy it. [wagster, May 12 2005]

Spore creature creator http://www.spore.co...ormscreaturecreator
(Game.) Build creature from parts, watch it hop around. More once Spore gets released. [jutta, Aug 03 2008]

[link]






       Mr. Potato Head zoo set, I suppose.
DrCurry, May 05 2005
  

       If we are going to be doing tissue engineering, I propose a long tapered cylinder, for deep-seated problems. Minimal lint, please. Maybe lavender scented.
bungston, May 06 2005
  

       Thought this was going to be a new Harry Potter lego marketing scheme. Lego Nimals.   

       GM?
contracts, May 06 2005
  

       GM or not, a fantastic idea.
wagster, May 06 2005
  

       //combination fish/crane// Wouldn't it eat itself?
coprocephalous, May 06 2005
  

       [Contracts]//GM?//

Nope, not a single G need be M'd to do this.
Basepair, May 06 2005
  

       Sketchy, unethical, magical, nonsensical fun. [+]
daseva, May 06 2005
  

       [daseva] Yes, indeedy. Proper half-baking is really more an art than it is a science, I think.
justaguy, May 06 2005
  

       [justaguy], I do agree with you, though nothing is so black and white... There are many different people here, after all.
daseva, May 06 2005
  

       [daseva] I must respectfully disagree. Zebras are, in fact, so black and white.
justaguy, May 06 2005
  

       Whose stripes are best explained via complexity theory and the cooresponding "edge of chaos" paradigms that border ever so beautifully between art and science.
daseva, May 06 2005
  

       And it is, of course, this very same razor edge that allows us to theoretically build a not-so-black-and-white zebra.   

       I stand corrected.
justaguy, May 06 2005
  

       There is a well-known (well, not so well-known or I wouldn't have to explain it) optical illusion in which a disc with black-and-white patterns is spun. At certain speeds, it appears coloured because the different colour receptors respond differently to flickering black-white pattern.

So, a sufficiently fast-moving swarm of zebras should, in fact, appear gloriously technicoloured.
Basepair, May 06 2005
  

       Zebras stripes serve as some of the most peculiar camoflauge around. In the hot sun, the heat waves off the ground make the stripes wave noticeably. to predators around, the waving motion prevents them from singling out any single zebra to hunt. They percieve a herd of zebras as one large vibrating animal, something no lion wants to mess with.
daseva, May 06 2005
  

       Is that really really truly true? I mean, when humans see a herd of zebras with heat-wavey stripes, they figure out pretty quickly that it is a herd of zebras with heat-wavey stripes. Now, I know lions are not the brightest of creatures, but I'd expect them to have figured this out. Has anyone asked a lion if it thinks it is seeing one huge vibrating stripey animal?
Basepair, May 06 2005
  

       Yeah, his name was Steven Effingham, self proclaimed animal behavioralist. He performed optics studies on this species and realized they have fewer vertically sensitive cortical cells in their visual cortex.   

       No, that part was bullshit. But, I'm pretty confident that I read about the zebra thing in a very credible source.
daseva, May 06 2005
  

       "I explained the purpose of such markings, and how they could quite easily arise through simple natural selection: Individually, Zebra stripes make the animal stand out dramatically against any background, except for that of a herd of Zebra. When the herd is together, the stripes serve to break up the outline of individuals, making it harder for predators to select any individual. Even though Zebras that become seperated from the herd are much more likely to be killed and eaten, the ones in the herd will be safer. The purpose of camouflage is to hide the creature using it, by breaking up it's outline and blending it in with it's background. In the case of the Zebra, the herd creates it's own background."   

       no mention of the heat waves here, but you get the point.
daseva, May 06 2005
  

       "Zebras have stripes because the stripes camouflage a zebra and help them hide from their enemies. This is done by breaking the outline of a zebra when it moves through tall grass. Rather than receiving a full view of a zebra, a predator only sees a bunch of vertical lines. This effect is particularly accented on a hot day when heat waves are rising from the earth. "   

       more on those stripes.
daseva, May 06 2005
  

       I agree that stripes break up the outline and cause general confusion - just watch a video of a herd of zebras running.

But, there are lots of implicit (and often untestable) assumptions about how animals perceive, and they generally seem to involve the animal in question being remarkably stupid. If I were a lion, I would have spent the last few million years evolving a visual system that was at least as good as ours when it came to looking at zebras.

But we seem to have diverged a little far from the topic.....
Basepair, May 06 2005
  

       Back to the subject in hand, this idea made me giggle sufficiently to photoshop a quick mock-up of what this might look like as a finished product (link). Apologies to [Basepair] if the 'G' word got on there somehow.
wagster, May 12 2005
  

       [Wagster] - !!!!!!!!!!!! (or, as I believe it is expressed in modern parlance - !!! 1111!!!111!).

I am simultaneously impressed and flattered, my favourite combinations of states. I couldn't have put it better myself. I would like to donate my small collection of buns to you.
Basepair, May 12 2005
  

       This isn't GM but I'd put it under "WIBNI"   

       There was a videogame exactely like this. After creating the animals you could release them into the 3d world and they would survive based on what parts you used et cetera.
SpocksEyebrow, May 12 2005
  

       //his isn't GM but I'd put it under "WIBNI"// So, on this basis, what isn't WIBNI? I'd say it was more WIBAGII
Basepair, May 12 2005
  
      
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