i-Brix - Wireless Lighting System for Lego® Building Bricks
The only wirelessly powered intelligent brick system for Lego®! No batteries or wires in the bricks, giving you brick building freedom!
Welcome to our Kickstarter project for i-Brix!
i-Brix brings a whole new level of fun and function to your LEGO® building components. When developing i-Brix, I was determined to bring new “life” into a product I've enjoyed for years. LEGO® has been a household name for many enthusiasts for decades.
i-Brix is an industry-first wireless lighting system designed to be used with LEGO® construction components. These little light-up Brix give you the flexibility and freedom to put lighted elements in your models without having to find a way to hide wires. And, since the i-Brix system is wireless, you won't need to worry about replacing batteries in each individual Lit Brix!
i-Brix is designed to work WITH your existing LEGO® collection - our Power Plate base plate and Lit Brix will work in conjunction with your existing bricks and pieces, allowing you the flexibility to use all of your existing components! And, for future reference, we are developing additional features and other "Brix" that will work with our existing i-Brix system.
I've spent the last five years trying to come up with a way to make lighting up bricks easier and more convenient – I spent over a year alone researching micro batteries that would fit inside a 1x1 brick (8mm x 8mm outside dimensions) but still put out enough power to light up an LED for more than a few hours. There were lithium batteries, nickel batteries, silver batteries, zinc batteries and several others, but they just didn't work well.
Most often, the smaller the battery, the lower the power output or lifespan. There are rechargeable batteries, but that could require disassembly of a model just to charge a lighted brick.
There were other drawbacks to this concept as well:
- Very, very small batteries are not very common, resulting in a higher cost-per-unit.
- Creating a miniature housing to accommodate 1-2 micro batteries that would allow for future replacement was definitely a challenge.
- And, who wants to disassemble a 1x1 brick to replace a micro battery after only a few days of use?
The other option, of course, was developing a lighting system that used wires to connect power to the LEDs. But this meant possibly drilling holes, pinching or damaging very fine wires and other nuances.
I felt that the "best" solution for what I was shooting for was to eliminate wires and direct-contact batteries to the lights themselves. But how could this be done?
How do i-Brix work? In concept, it’s pretty simple – for a new setup you’ll need a Power Plate which can go underneath your building surface. Then you simply add the i-Brix Lit Brix units and place those above the Power Plate. Since the power is able to transmit through plastic surfaces, it can be concealed underneath your LEGO® plates without taking away from the appearance of the system.
Now, we haven't invented the concept of wireless power - Nikola Tesla is given most of the credit for this amazing wonder from years ago. However, we have refined the process to make it work on a very small scale. When you take into consideration just how small our wireless LED receivers are, it's simply amazing! We've fit a wireless receiver and LED into a space that's only 8mm square.
Also, unlike a cell phone charger, toothbrush, or other device, our LED Lit Brix receivers do not require direct surface contact with the transmitting Power Plate. Lit Brix 1x1 brix can work about 6" away from the Power Plate, or even further when combined with our Booster Plate units (for example, one booster plate could increase your range to up to 12").
We are bringing i-Brix to Kickstarter to generate buzz and momentum behind it so that we can have these produced in volume, allowing all of you to enjoy i-Brix! With our pre-configured packages that feature special “introductory” pricing, you can get setup with i-Brix at a great price and be one of the first to own them. We have several kit options available on Kickstarter, some include Power Plates, Lit Brix and even the Booster Plates.
Our Kickstarter funding will be used for:
- Mold fabrication for our Brix that will hold the LED core as well as actual brick manufacturing
- Receiver production and assembly
- Finalization of engineering work and product testing
- Board production that holds the electronic components, including the LED(s)
- Packaging for each i-Brix product
We feel Kickstarter is the best place to kickoff i-Brix because it gives us a chance to bring out an exciting new product while also giving our backers first "dibs" at getting them into their hands.
Technical Specifications (Preliminary, may change):
Standard Power Plate Transmitter Base:
- 10"L x 10"W x .25"H
- 5VDC input power (similar to USB wall charger)
- 2W power output
- transmitter range without Booster Plates, up to 8"
Basic Brix Transmitter Base:
- 6"L x 6"W x .25"H 5VDC
- input power (similar to USB wall charger)
- 2W power output
- transmitter range without Booster Plates, up to 6"
- "1x1" brick size (8mm x 8mm x 9.6mm), flat surface on sides
- Clear plastic, injection molded
- Single LED on-board mounted
- 6x6 (approx. 1.89" x 1.89") plate size (preliminary size estimate)
- Increases horizontal or vertical wireless range of receivers. Placed above Power Plate, up to 12" range.
- Booster Plates can also be used horizontally, across the same plane to increase range laterally!
*We back and support the LEGO® fair play policy: http://www.lego.com/en-US/legal/legal-notice/fair-play
A few notes/disclaimers - all examples shown are REAL, functional i-Brix Lit Brix 1x1 units being used over a standard Power Plate. I chose to use our prototype Brix for the purposes of providing an accurate portrayal of how i-Brix could work in real building scenarios. There are no "tricks" hidden out of view, such as wires connecting the Brix or batteries inside the Brix just so we could make them light up. They are being powered with our wireless technology.
Also, some of the Lit Brix displayed are clear units with the angular lip on the bottom and a knob on the front. At this time, our campaign is to focus on the solid-faced 1x1 clear Brix to help in simplifying the process for our initial run. The great thing is that when we develop additional sizes or styles going forward, they will work with the i-Brix components shown here. We have plans to expand upon this concept in the future if we can significantly exceed our initial goals! Just think of all the possibilities :)
Risks and challenges
i-Brix has huge potential to be an amazing success! There are more LEGO® bricks being used than ever before therefore the demand could significantly exceed our expectations.
As with any "new" innovation, there can be some hurdles that may arise during the development or manufacturing process.
Since we are using wireless power and have a strong sense of the technology being used, we are planning on having the product reviewed for safety purposes. Based upon industry research and expert consultations, our method of transferring this power is similar to how wireless charging for cell phones works, which means we're good!
We anticipate "smooth sailing" throughout the entire manufacturing process, but when we involve outside organizations, there can be a hiccup or two. If something comes along, we will keep all backers informed and up to date on things!
We have multiple manufacturing partners in place to assist us in production and packaging. With their experience and expertise, i-Brix will be an industry-first, break-through product. We already have plans to continue to develop and expand upon into the concept in the future.
If we significantly exceed our initial funding goals, we will be offering stretch goals.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)