Despite being around for over a century, Legos remain one of the most popular toys of children across the globe even though they haven’t changed over the years.
Brixo is like an internet of things (IoT) enabled Lego set. They’re bricks that safely conduct electricity and connect to the user’s smartphone to enable them to do a variety of actions with their designs. The bricks feature LED lights, motor blocks, along with sound, light, and proximity sensors.
While it sounds complicated, Brixo only revolves around three core elements – trigger blocks, connector blocks, and action blocks. Connector blocks are made of chrome and connect the trigger blocks to action blocks. In essence, the user designs are riding on chrome.
Trigger blocks are the ones that respond with an action to sounds, lights, or having another brick in its proximity. Technical users can use IFTT to integrate Brixo with hundreds of different web applications. Each trigger block contains a Bluetooth sensor, proximity sensor, sound sensor, or light sensor.
As the name implies, action blocks are the blocks which perform different tasks. These include LED lights and motor blocks.
It’s worth noting that although Brixo is equipped with sensors and other features, they’re still backwards compatible with existing Lego sets.
Behind the scenes, Brixo’s chrome coated connector blocks conduct electricity in virtually any direction using patented small elastic arms. The device is powered by a small 9V battery pack equipped with built-in circuit monitoring to prevent short circuits.
By using the built-in Bluetooth controller, users can change the currents’ direction and voltage levels via the companion mobile app. In order to conserve battery life, Brixo has a built-in sleep mode which activates when it is not in use.
A few examples of projects using Brixo include: setting an alarm clock to only shut off when a pyramid is built, a nightlight that turns on when a keyword is spoken, or a treat dispenser that dispenses a treat when the pet performs a specified action.
Brixo LED blocks are sized at 9.6mm x 16mm x 16mm and contain two oppositely connected LED lights. The battery block is 28.8mm x 32mm x 64mm and includes a battery status indicator and a buzzer that serves as a short circuit indicator. The trigger block is sized 9.6mm x 16mm x 32mm. The motor block is sized 19.2mm x 16mm x 32mm and runs at 50-75 RPM. Finally, the elastic arms are sized at 9.6mm x 8mm x 32mm.
So far the makers of Brixo have raised over $1.3 million via crowdfunding with an estimated shipping date of March 2017. Pricing starts at $59 which is 46% off the retail price of $110. The entry level kit includes 1 smart battery case(+Bluetooth), 1 motor block, twenty 2×1 blocks, three 2×2 blocks, thirty 4×1 blocks, 2 LED lights, 1 light switch, 1 sound switch, 1 proximity switch. 60 parts total.