Growing up I probably had about 3,000 Lego bricks. When my parents bought me a new set, I wouldn’t keep all the Legos of that set together, and instead I would combine them with the thousands that I already had. Although it made it nearly impossible to find the bricks needed to create the objects which that particular set was for, I didn’t care.
You see, I never liked following instructions. Instead of building an object which Lego decided for me, I would much rather use my imagination to create something different, something which utilized a selection of bricks from my conglomerate of probably 30 different individual sets. Instead of relying on the drawings on the box to envision what the objects might look like if they were real, I left that too, up to my imagination.
That’s the great thing about Lego: it sparks a child’s imagination, and can often be the building blocks (quite literally) of something more important, a desire to learn and construct new ideas.
It’s been over 65 years since the first Lego bricks were sold. Over the years, not much has actually changed, besides perhaps a few technological advancements allowing for the integration of mechanical components, and electronics into some of the more sophisticated sets. This, however, may be about to change in a major way.
Although as far as we can tell they have no affiliation with Lego themselves, a group called the Gravity Research Club has recently posted a video showing off perhaps the next evolution of Legos. They have presented a project called “Lego X,” and I must say it’s quite impressive.
“When you play with Lego, you see much more in it than plastic bricks,” stated the video. “They are the fastest way to turn your ideas into reality. What if you could keep and share each of these ideas? Lego X understands what you are building, and what you are seeing.”
When we were children we all wished at some point or other that the pixelated objects we built could somehow be transformed into the actual objects we meant for them to be. Lego X tries to solve this issue by utilizing various types of sensors and tablet connectivity to pinpoint the location of each brick in relation to one another. The objects created with these sensor infused bricks are able to appear in real time on a tablet as they are constructed. To take things a step further, the application used will transform the constructed objects into a more defined model. Using algorithms the application can tell what the builder is trying to construct. It will then smooth the model out to remove the pixelation caused by they block-shaped bricks, allowing for the builder to realize what they had intended to construct had they not been limited to Lego bricks.
That’s not all! The 3D models created by the application are then able to easily be 3D printed, allowing not only for the builder to realize a more sleek design to their build, but to also preserve that build forever, even after the Lego bricks are taken apart and reshaped into another object.
Will this be the future of toys like Legos? Probably so. It’s clearly the next evolution of Lego’s idea, which started back in 1949. Whether Lego jumps on this idea themselves, or sits by the wayside as other companies jump into the market, we’ll have to wait and find out. Clearly Lego has the rights to their bricks, as well as the market prowess to popularize such an idea. Hopefully this is something they have, or are currently considering, as in my opinion it’s an incredible way to integrate current technologies into an age-old product.
Would you purchase a product like Lego X? What are your thoughts on having the ability to 3D print sleeker versions of your Lego creations? Discuss in the Lego X 3D Printed Lego Creation forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the full video of this concept below: