Australian entrepreneur Steve Sammartino and Romania-born Raul Oaida, lauded by some as a technical genius, hit the streets late December in their drivable Lego car made up of 500,000 standard Lego pieces.
The car is fully functional, although “probably the most uncomfortable in automotive history,” Sammartino admits. The engine is made entirely of Legos and runs not on gas or electricity, but air. Compressed air runs into the engine moving the pistons and driveshaft to enable the car to move forward at 12-17 mph.
Sammartino and Oaida, who met over the Internet, began their Super Awesome Micro Project in 2012 with a single tweet asking for funding ($500 to $1000 per person). The two were pretty conservative with their pitch, offering “no fiscal return” and warning that the project carried “high risk and may fail.”
On the up-side, the two told potential investors they would be funding a project that “is high tech, eco-friendly, quirky, strange and very, very cool.” The duo eventually got funding from 40 entrepreneurs.
The point of the project? For Sammarito it’s less about the technical feat and more about the power of crowdfunding and the ability of people to connect with each other and develop amazing ideas using the Internet.
New business structures like crowdsourcing and crowdfunding should be embraced by auto manufacturers, Sammarito says, as a way to listen to consumers and access serious minds who can help design the cars of the future.
Oaida, the technical brains behind the Super Awesome Micro Project, has already designed a Lego spaceshuttle and a jetbike and wants to raise capital for new projects around 3D printing, drones, web of things, and hoverboards. Watch this space.
Photo by Josh Rowe