Jan 21, 2015 | By Simon

It seems like these days we’re in no shortage of ‘Maker Dads’ who are focused on modifying their kids’ toys to be smarter and more customizable.  In the last couple of weeks alone, we’ve seen everything from a proud uncle who created a  3D printed Cat Chariot (for getting Barbie from A to B in style) for his niece to a father who designed and 3D printed his son a custom Hot Wheels drag race track that features a built-in track timer.  

While some might say that these ‘Maker Dads’ (and uncles) might be going a little overboard, the fact of the matter is that toys are in fact a perfect platform for testing various 3D printing and programming concepts: they are cheap, accessible and in most cases, have a pre-existing ecosystem of other products to further expand your possibilities.

More recently, Peter Varga of Bratislava, Slovakia has taken to LEGO toys to develop his own modified toy concept that he has recently launched on Kickstarter: the RC Brick.

The prototype, which he has designed to “enhance the imagination for kids playing with LEGOs”, uses a custom app via an iPhone to control a remote controlled LEGO brick that is able to power the brick for creating remote control cars or other LEGO creations that can be built to move.  

All that is needed aside from the RC Brick is a charger cable for your phone, which is then connected to a micro-USB port on the brick.  Using the included application, a user can choose from a set themed environment including construction site, firefighters or police.  The chosen theme then bring the LEGO build to life with a collection of pre-installed movement options and sounds that are designed to make the LEGO-playing experience more immersive and interactive for young builders.   

“Even if you bought a fire truck, you can rebuild it to a police truck, helicopter or a crane thanks to the RC-brick,” says Varga.   “The time spent by playing will increase. The brick sets in combination with the RC-brick will double the fun you will have.”

Additionally, the RC Bricks were designed to be compatible with most toy bricks on the market in the case that a user isn’t specifically playing with the LEGO brand toys.  Varga even encourages users to create their own bricks using a 3D printer to further expand their design possibilities.  

While the prototype for his Kickstarter campaign was built from an actual LEGO brick, Varga emphasizes that his budget did not allow for him to use his final form design for the RC Brick, which would be even more compatible for more toys.  Currently, the “Winch-Brick” is under development while the “Wheel Motor-Brick” and the “Rotor-Brick” models are finished and have been tested for engine damage and usage with a smartphone.  Varga plans on using the funds generated from the Kickstarter campaign to finalize the designs for manufacturing.    

“RC Brick is a prototype, which is designed to enhance the imagination of your children. If you ever seen a kid at play with a vehicle built from a brick set, you most probably seen it how it drove around on the ground or table and making sounds, which the vehicle would make. The RC Brick makes this possible for real.”

Whether you plan on using the RC Brick to create your own 3D printed remote controlled toys or simply want to enhance a LEGO collection, you can purchase one over on Kickstarter starting at £27.   

Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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