Vanessa Stöckel, Jana Seemann,
Marina Rost

3. semester, winter semester 17/18

Course: Prototyping

by Prof. Michael Schuster

Tinker Bricks is a programmable children's toy. With the help of Lego-Duplo bricks, a child can control a small vehicle. Depending on how or where the bricks are placed on the Duplo plate, the Duplo bricks address different actuators in the small vehicle. From engines that make the car drive, to LEDs or a piezo that lets the car honk, there are no limitations to the child's creativity, experimenting with the various functions and modifying and controlling the vehicle as he or she wants to.

At the Future Design Award 2018, Tinker Bricks won the first price in the category: "Design of a media pedagogical concept".


How do Tinker Bricks work?

Screws are attached to the nubs of the Lego-Duplo plate, which can be powered up by the wiring inside the wooden frame below. This is done by using a grid of copper sticks, which are connected to an Arduino. The nubs on the Lego plate are divided into columns.


The Arduino in the wooden frame ensures that they are energized one after the other and checks if there are Duplo bricks placed on the plate, column by column. Just like a "sequencer", certain sequences are repeated continuously. Among other things, this teaches the child how a code works. The active column is marked for the child by a glowing brick on the plate.

It is possible to differentiate which of the actuators in the vehicle are to be addressed by using resistors which are built into the pluggable bricks. An Arduino is also installed in a brick of the vehicle, which communicates via Bluetooth with the Arduino in the wooden frame.

After all the project has been designed as a maker project, it can be recreated with the help of our instructions and gives the possibility to add even more functions, as well as to re-use your old Lego-Duplo.

Download: Files for recreation + instructions