Smart Blocks: Building on the Internet of Things

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When’s the last time you created something with Lego® blocks? If you can’t remember, do yourself a favor – stop reading and go get your hands on some. Finding them shouldn’t be hard because there’s enough out there for everyone on Earth to have at least 80.

Now, when’s the last time you created something with blocks, and then used your smartphone to animate it? Probably never, but that could soon change. The Israel-based company, Brixo, created a set of Lego-compatible electric blocks, enabling builders to add light, sound and motion to their creations.

Adding to the already boundless potential of building blocks

Sport cars, pirate ships, tall towers, impenetrable castles – you can build just about anything imaginable with blocks. Brixo blocks take the limitless possibilities of building blocks a step further with “Action Blocks” that are capable of movement and illumination.

That means airplane propellers can spin, race cars can race, lunar rovers can rove. Add lights to the top of your fire truck and activate them as it’s en route to the next emergency, or make your tremendous tower more intimidating by adding lights.

If it was possible, the endless potential of building blocks is now even more so. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, the way you activate the blocks can be as cool as the actions they perform.

“Trigger Blocks” work on sound, motion and even Bluetooth technology

Equipped with sensors capable of detecting sound, light and motion, these blocks can be set to activate in a variety of situations, including via Bluetooth technology and the Internet. Activate your blocks with the push of a button, or set them to interact with your phone apps automatically.

One practical use offered by the Brixo team is in the field of home automation. By connecting your blocks to your Nest profile, you could “turn on all your smart home devices just by hanging up a Brixo keychain on a Brixo board by the door.”

Neat! So how does it work?

It’s all in the chrome coating. The metallic finish acts as a conductor, moving electricity along the circuit of “Connector Blocks” to Action and Trigger Blocks.

Best of all, because of the design, it’s all wireless. The Connector Blocks essentially are your wires. You don’t have to worry about getting shocked by touching the blocks either. It’s all powered by a built-in battery system with voltage so low that “almost no current enters the human body upon contact.”

Where can you get them?

Brixo is just getting started with their innovative blocks, so sales have been limited so far. As you can imagine, demand is high and, for the time being, supply is low. Given the overwhelming support for the blocks so far, you can probably expect to see them available within the next year. That should give you plenty of time to perfect your helicopters and towers in anticipation of this new technology.


 

Sources:

10 Top LEGO Facts!

http://www.getbrixo.com/

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/brixo-building-blocks-meet-electricity-and-iot#/

https://www.yahoo.com/news/smart-blocks-turn-lego-creations-connected-toys-130755903.html

http://www.cnet.com/news/brixo-brings-internet-of-things-to-lego/#