The LEGO cashpoint

April 19, 2010 | 12:19

Tags: #atm #cashpoint

Companies: #lego

LEGO NXT has long been the building material of choice for budding hackers, but surely there's a limit to what can be achieved with a toy? A cashpoint would be stretching its abilities, surely?

Well, it seems not: demonstrated over on Make, the LEGO NXT Automatic Teller Machine might not be 100 percent pure-blood LEGO - there's a HiTechnic IRLink and a Codatex RFID reader in there as well - but the bulk is nothing more than a toy, and yet it manages to recognise and supply actual cash money.

The in-built scanner is capable of being calibrated to recognise bank notes of any value - although thus far the system has only been tested with US currency - and even features a viewable live histogram so the sensitivity can be adjusted if necessary.

Using custom RFID cards and a customer database kept on an internal flash memory module, the LEGO cashpoint is able to keep track of each individual users' balance and provide on-demand cash with all the features you would expect of an ATM: the in-built numeric keypad, which uses a combination of touch and light sensors, allow a four-digit PIN to be entered, and if the wrong combination is used three times in a row - or if the user waits too long without making a selection - the card is retained. The system is even capable of counting deposited cash, making it possibly the geekiest piggie bank in history.

Programmed in the surprisingly powerful Not eXactly C language, the video of the device in action demonstrates the quite frankly breathtaking capabilities of the machine - including its ability to dispense coins as well as banknotes.

Are you impressed with the power of the LEGO cashpoint, or are you wondering quite what the point is - at least until such a device can be equipped with a modem and linked in to real bank networks? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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