F.A.T. Lab and Sy-Lab are pleased to present the Free Universal Construction Kit: a matrix of nearly 80 adapter bricks that enable complete interoperability between ten* popular children’s construction toys. By allowing any piece to join to any other, the Kit encourages totally new forms of intercourse between otherwise closed systems—enabling radically hybrid constructive play, the creation of previously impossible designs, and ultimately, more creative opportunities for kids. As with other grassroots interoperability remedies, the Free Universal Construction Kit implements proprietary protocols in order to provide a public service unmet—or unmeetable—by corporate interests.
By itself this is a massively cool exercise, but brings up all sorts of interesting philosophical questions about using technologies of all stripes, together, in shocking mix and match rainbows of competence and otherwise. It’s not so far from innovation in the large, the idea that bringing together different domains of expertise results in all sorts of interesting new ideas, or from the tremendous enthusiasm for startups and indeed any type of ‘making’ that happens again and again in SV and in special parts of the world.
In this case, combining toys with different construction ‘affordances’ makes for a much more flexible, more universal, construction capability. It’s also super cool in that it makes the capabilities of 3d printing ever more clear in terms of bridging into a new world of IP concerns, capabilities and freedoms.
For more on the Universal construction kit see http://fffff.at/free-universal-construction-kit/
For an interesting riff on makers and the emerging world of 3d see http://venturebeat.com/2012/03/21/dylans-desk-when-craftsmanship-meets-tech-m…