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Lego

LEGO is a Danish toy company that adopted the name LEGO in 1934, formed from the Danish words "LEg GOdt" ("play well"). One of their products was wooden toys. Later, it was realised that in Latin the word means "I study" or "I put together".

LEGO is also the name that most people give to the company's best known toy, the plastic LEGO bricks.

In 1953 plastic (initially cellulose acetate[?], later acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) Automatic Binding Bricks got a new name: "LEGO Mursten" ("LEGO Bricks"). Although sold as parts of specific play sets, the LEGO bricks can all be combined with each other, allowing children to make their own creations.

Since its inception, LEGO has released many thousands of play sets themed on space, pirates, medieval castles, the wild west, cities, the arctic, dinosaurs, robots, suburbia, holiday locations, boats, racing cars, trains, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and more. New pieces are being released constantly, allowing LEGO to become more and more versatile.

There are also motors, gears, lights, noise makers and cameras available to be used with the other LEGO components. There are even bricks that can be programmed with a personal computer to perform very complicated procedures. These programmable bricks are sold under the name LEGO Mindstorms[?].

LEGO has now been used for many things far beyond a child's toy. It has developed a cult following of people who have used LEGO to make sculptures, very large mosaics, and complex machines. Some sculptures use hundreds of thousands of pieces and weigh tens of kilograms. Mosaics can be the size of large wall hangings. People have used LEGO to create machines such as fully functional padlocks and pendulum clocks. One such LEGO masterpiece actually solves a Rubik's Cube, a task that many humans cannot accomplish.

In order to fit accurately and securely with one another, LEGO bricks are manufactured to an extremely high degree of accuracy, leading to their use in fields such as Computer Vision, where knowing the exact dimensions and relative positions of objects is useful for creating test data.

Other (for some reason often Japanese) people use LEGO to create movies. One popular hobby is to re-create popular scenes from famous movies, using LEGO bricks for the scenery and LEGO play sets as 'actors'. Imitating Monty Python sketches is especially popular. Such movies are called LEGO movies or cinema LEGO. These movies became so popular that LEGO itself decided to sell a special LEGO video set called LEGO Studios.

Beyond that, LEGO has been inspiring all kinds of people in a number of different ways. For example, the people at the website theory.org.uk (http://www.theory.org.uk/lego.htm) combine LEGO with social theory and social theory with LEGO.

LEGO has become so popular that there are now several LEGO theme parks known as Legoland around the world. The first of these is located in Billund, Denmark. Others followed: Legoland Windsor in England, Legoland California in the US and, on May 17, 2002 Legoland GŁnzburg in Germany.

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