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LEGO fans have a reason to be super excited about BRIXO add-on building blocks: they’re going to make LEGO models that much more amazing. The new Israeli-designed blocks act as electric conductors, adding light and motion to any construction.
LEGO, of course, already has a Technic series that lets builders add special pieces such as gears, pins or axles to advanced models and transform them into movable devices.
But BRIXO isn’t just for the advanced builder. These connectors form simple circuits and bring even the simplest designs to life with LED lights, motor blocks, trigger blocks and proximity sensors.
The Israeli designers turned to crowdfunding and smashed their $50,000 goal within 24 hours.
“We’re truly excited that the community loves and appreciates BRIXO. The fact that we passed our goal in 24 hours and having more than 1,300 backers (and counting) is a true milestone for us,” Boaz Almog, one of the BRIXO inventors, tells ISRAEL21c.
“Choosing crowdfunding and specifically Kickstarter allowed us to reach our users directly and get them actively involved in BRIXO. Every backer and supporter that we get brings us closer to making BRIXO a reality.”
The enormous interest in BRIXO – interestingly, the second Israeli-designed set of blocks to wow the crowdfunding community within the last month, following Ollies Blocks – also spread to the toy industry.
“As soon as the campaign ends we will begin negotiations with distributors worldwide. The successful campaign already brought us multiple cooperation requests which, I’m sure, will help us choose the optimal path to bring BRIXO to as many users as possible at affordable prices,” Almog tells ISRAEL21c.
For the two physicist-inventors of these blocks, the “cool” factor is definitely important but so is the science behind it.
Almog, a quantum physicist and TED speaker, got his inspiration for BRIXO from watching his son play with an electric science kit. When Almog asked him to point out the circuit he had wired, he couldn’t.
“He looked at me puzzled,” Almog says. “I quickly realized he couldn’t see it through the forest of tangled wires on his breadboard.”
That’s when the BRIXO epiphany hit Almog: wireless building blocks that conduct electricity.
He teamed up with Amir Saraf, a researcher in the physics department at Tel Aviv University, to bring this idea to life.
In 2013, the two physicists founded Quantum Experience, an initiative to bring quantum physics into the public eye. In 2015, they founded BRIXO Smart Toys.
“Science and technology surround us,” says Almog. “But basic understanding of the principles we look at every day as physicists are absent from mainstream consciousness.”
Saraf and Almog added Amir Asor to the team to serve as their CEO. Asor, a STEM educator and entrepreneur, founded Young Engineers Education Company in 2008. That initiative, which offers innovative programs teaching children the intricacies of engineering as they play with LEGO, is operating today in over 20 countries.
Since they’re all from the Startup Nation, it makes sense that these new blocks are also high-tech supported.
“BRIXO’s electric bricks are normal sized building blocks that are anything but normal. It’s like LEGO on steroids,” the team writes on their Kickstarter page. “Basically, they’re bricks that safely conduct electricity and connect to your phone to enable you to do all sorts of cool things with your designs… [and] add an element of interactive awesomeness.”
BRIXO blocks have built-in sensor and Bluetooth chips so you can program your designs to do “just about anything.”
“With bricks that can be triggered by sound, light, touch and the entire world of IoT, there isn’t much you CAN’T do,” they explain.
The designers give examples of how to set a phone’s alarm clock to shut off only when you build a pyramid out of BRIXO blocks, or build a nightlight that turns on when a child says a certain password.
BRIXO may seem similar to the award-winning Snap Circuits electronic project kits or other sets that teach the basics of electricity and circuits. The main difference is that there are no wires in the Israeli toy.
Moreover, while BRIXO can be used as a standalone, it is actually better when used with other building blocks.
“BRIXO blocks are perfect for any maker or designer working on DIY projects or rapid prototyping for personal or professional ends. BRIXO is also fully compatible with LEGO building blocks, making them a great ed-tech product for children; the blocks are powered by a low voltage built-in battery and coated in safe non-toxic chrome,” say the founders.
“The possibilities are pretty much endless.”