About this project
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Stretch goal #1: ($75.000)
Ludicrous mode, Motor current measurement & Transparent upper housing with multicolor LED lighting. Each & Every BuWizz will be capable of powering LEGO models with ludicrous speed with 11.8 Volts output. Each motor's current will be measured and recorded in real time. This will enable various advanced functions - linear actuator end position detection, motor overload, collision detection and programming of sequential motions of several motors. The upper part of housing will be transparent. Lit with several RGB LEDs, It will be capable of changing colors. The LED function will be programmable - they will be able to indicate battery state, motor state, flash in various patterns - create light effects.
Stretch goal #2: ($100.000)
New housing colors and USB data connectivity - we will add several color options for BuWizz housing (colors will be determined based on demand). Data connectivity will enable connection to PC/Mac/Linux computers, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, etc. There will be an option for connecting external sensors. BuWizz will become a robotics and educational platform.
What is BuWizz?
We are glad to announce the latest innovation in the field of LEGO® models. Our remote control brick, paired with your smartphone, is the coolest thing that ever clicked into your LEGO Technic model or train. Operating via Bluetooth and working within a large range, your models will move faster than ever and exhibit the power of real RC models.
Meet BuWizz, the one brick to steer them all
As LEGO® fans, we wanted to have more fun with our models, more speed, power and possibilities to play with the models we construct. We were not satisfied with available solutions. We wanted the freedom to control several models with many motors at the same time and steer them with precision, power and authority. One should be able to drive models outdoors and enable them to climb over obstacles and defeat rough natural terrain such as grass, gravel, tree roots, etc. We set a goal and worked hard for two years to reach it.
What's in it for you?
BuWizz is a high performance yet compact controller for LEGO® Power Functions motors. BuWizz comes equipped with embedded battery and a Micro-USB charging port. A single BuWizz brick controls up to four motors. Smartphone or tablet controlled, it's super easy to setup and use. The App can control several BuWizz bricks in case you ever really want to build that monster model with 30 motors & lights you are dreaming about.
Out of the box setup
Saves your time, with no setup necessary, BuWizz just works out of the box. Insert BuWizz into your model, connect the motors and start the App. Auto configuration will take care of setting up BuWizz. You can, of course, change all the settings and store them for unlimited number of models.
At only 8 bricks long, 4 bricks wide and 3 bricks high - BuWizz is compact (even smaller than LEGO AAA battery box), yet it replaces the LEGO® battery box and two LEGO® IR receivers. You can also embed the BuWizz brick deep into your model if you so wish and hide it out of sight. All you need is access to the Micro-USB charging port (which can also be achieved with a simple USB extension cable).
Responsive control with precise steering
Steer your models smoothly – LEGO PF Servo motor has 15 positions with BuWizz (not just left-center-right as with LEGO IR controls). Move the sliders on the touch screen fast and your model will respond to speed changes instantly, move the sliders slowly and the motors will follow your commands and change their speed gradually. Control with fast response was the drive behind BuWizz. Test it out, it feels sooo cool.
Delivers 2x the speed and 8x the power to any model
BuWizz is very powerful. It delivers two times more power and speed to each motor, so your huge & heavy 5000+ bricks creation will scream & roar and not just barely move across the floor. Each of the four outputs can easily power two LEGO XL motors at the same time. When all four outputs are used, BuWizz delivers 8x more power to the motors than any solution using LEGO battery box! Unleash your imagination and build the monster MOC you always wanted to, without worrying how to make it move and where to drive it.
Charges via Micro-USB
BuWizz has an embedded high performance Li-Ion battery and a standard Micro USB charging port. The battery lasts for hours of fun (depending on usage). When the battery eventually gets low, the App will alert you and you can charge it from any USB source. You no longer need to burden the environment with depleted batteries.
Be alerted when battery is running low
We have been there many times too – without warning, somehow the NiMh rechargeable batteries are always dead when you finally find the time to play with your models. We have this covered. The App will show you battery charge state so you will always know how much power remains.
In case BuWizz battery gives up before you do, you can charge it with any standard Powerbank battery even while you drive your model. No problem if you forgot to charge your BuWizz – just make sure your Powerbank is full.
FAST and SLOW speed modes
In FAST speed mode, BuWizz delivers 2x more power to each motor, enabling them to spin faster. Your models will run faster and have more power to climb obstacles.
Retract the gear on your plane, move the barrier or convertible roof. BuWizz is the only solution that moves the LEGO PF Servo motor between positions very fast or very slow or anything in between – you decide. Check the video below to se the difference between "Fast" and "Slow" modes.
Tracked vehicle steering
If you have ever tried it, you know steering a tracked vehicle can be a hassle. Drive your tracked vehicle like you would any “normal” vehicle - with forward-reverse & steering control sliders. BuWizz will do the rest and send appropriate control signals to left and right track motors.
Studded or studless?
BuWizz can handle both worlds with ease. Bottom & top surfaces have studs for connecting BuWizz to studded designs. The 4 pin holes in the corners enable BuWizz to be integrated in studless models.
BuWizz works on Android and iOS devices. Designed for ease of use, both platforms support automatic pairing and setup of your BuWizz brick(s). We are developing several fully customizable skins - here are just two of them:
BuWizz has the same footprint as two IR receivers. You can swap those and use it instantly. It mostly fits inside the models, yet you have to rearrange a brick or two sometimes :-) We believe BuWizz is the most useful brick. A brick to control compact and complex LEGO creations. The possibilities are truly endless.
You need to see this video:
How we developed BuWizz
We got the idea for BuWizz back in late 2013, created some simple prototypes and tested them at local LEGO user group meetings during 2014.
Serious development started in 2015, when we decided to add a battery to BuWizz since this was the only way to achieve the desired performance. Months of development, testing, changes, more development & testing, etc. followed. We changed the internals and external design and added pinholes. It was hard work but it was also fun and now BuWizz is ready!
BuWizz beta testers
We thoroughly tested the prototypes and gathered feedback from several beta testers. Here are some of them and their opinions:
Philo: "I mostly tested on 42030 Volvo wheel loader, worked remarkably well!"
Designer Han: "I really like it! "
Jurgen Krooshoop: "Allthough the App is still very basic, it works pretty well. It didn’t crash 1 single time."
After successful Kickstarter campaign, we will set in motion the process of manufacturing BuWizz. We need to order the plastic moulding tools from our suppliers, order all the electronic components, and start the production at our external supplier.
- Battery type: Lithium Polymer (Li-Ion) - rechargeable
- Battery capacity: 7.5 Wh
- Charge rate: 5 W (5 V, 1 A)
- Charge time (20-80%): 1h 15 min
- Max current per channel: 3 A
- Max power per channel: 30 W (HIGH speed mode)
- Max power total: 45 W
- Connectivity: Bluetooth Smart (BLE)
- Range: up to 60 m
- Dimensions: 8 x 4 x 3 bricks
Speed mode voltages
- SLOW speed: 4 V
- NORMAL speed: 7.5 V
- FAST speed: 10 V
- Android version: 4.4 and up
- iOS version: 9 and up
- open Bluetooth communications protocol
Comparison to LEGO batteries
- BuWizz output voltage is regulated and stays constant regardless of load (either 4, 7.5 or 10 V). Maximum (all channels combined) output current is 4.5 A.
- LEGO Li-Ion (8878): output voltage drops when battery gets discharged, depends on load. At 50% capacity, 1 A discharge, voltage is only slightly above 6 V. Maximum current: 1.5 A for 5 seconds (before protection trips).
- LEGO AA battery box (8881): performance depends on AA batteries used. At 750 mA discharge, voltage is about 6.5 - 7 V. Maximum current: 1.5 A for 5 seconds (before protection trips).
- LEGO AAA battery box (88000): performance is worse than AA battery box; voltage at 750 mA is 6 - 6.5 V. Same current limiter as AA battery box
Excellent documentation about LEGO batteries and extensive test results can be found on Philo's website. Thanks Philo!
Credits to BuWizz team
We want to thank many other people, who helped with the project so far.
We want to thank the Kickstarter team for making this possible and all the press for covering our product. A big thank you for backing our campaign and supporting the project we all believe in.
Origin of BuWizz name
BuWizz is an imaginary name. Means nothing. Or something. Bluetooth. Battery. Better. Upgrade. Wizard. BuWizz. Makes your models whizz by. You decide what BuWizz means.
We are a group of enthusiasts and we created BuWizz as an enhancement to add more fun and enable new possibilities with LEGO models. We tried hard to differentiate BuWizz from LEGO products, but to maintain compatibility, some similarities are unavoidable.
LEGO® is trademark of The LEGO Group, which does not sponsor, authorize or endorse us or this project in any way. All Trademarks are property of their respective owners.
Risks and challenges
We feel confident enough to show you and deliver this very special brick. BuWizz is set to ship inside this year and our plan will be fairly easy to accomplish, if we are fully backed. We need to prepare plastic moulding tooling for production, set up the assembly line and create the first batch with support of our external partners. Possible risks include manufacturing and logistic issues, but we already accounted for possible delays in our schedule. We also need to "polish" the App, both iOS and Android versions, where we have full control over development.
So here is our challenge: We commit to our dear backers to fulfil the orders and deliver rewards inside this year. Specifically, the early bird batch will ship in November. This is a promise we will look forward to fulfilling. The main shipment will follow in December, when BuWizz will enter the market.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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