Legos, Lights, IoT and Kids

Submitted by davidseth on Sun, 21/Feb/2016 - 12:34

Legos, Lights, IoT and Kids

Minecraft skeleton

Today I had a great time playing Minecraft Lego with my three year old son.

The Minecraft Lego series is one of my favourites if not my number one favourite within Lego. It's fun because there is no one-way to build, no "getting-it-wrong". You can put any bricks together and since they are all "real" materials they essentially just work.

My son and I ended up with a pretty impressive structure, his most time consuming addition, and the one he was most proud of, was Steve's house and night light (look at the upper left) and mine was a garden (bottom right) for his TNT-cow (unfortunately not pictured but very cute). You will also notice some lava in the middle and hidden behind the tree is a pool at the back. More from these important biomes below.

Minecraft Lego

I thought it would be fun to add a bit of interactive light to the mix. Who doesn't like lights? Especially blinky lights :) Fortunately I had something that was ready to drop in for some quick fun and to keep my three year old's attention. I have been working with some Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) platforms lately and one that is really fun and easy is the Metawear system.

In the picture below you can see I have soldered on a LiPo battery pack and with a simple controller app can control the lights. It has red, green and blue and they can either be off or blink.

BLE and LiPo battery pack
Photo of two BLE modules with soldered on LiPo battery packs. I reckon they would drive the LED lights for about a couple of hours. These modules also have additional sensors like accelerometer and temp.

We had to make few quick changes to our Minecraft biomes, mostly to add more transparent bricks and to create a bit of space underneath. We then placed the modules just below. Again Minecraft worked so well as every biome is a plate with bricks at the corners. This leaves a perfect amount of space for tinkering...

My son loved it, he can't yet read but within a minute or two had memorised what to do to make the different lights come on and blink.

We were excited to show-off our creation to the older boys and they were impressed. The only problems were the arguing over who could control the lights.

The video below shows the remote switching of the light from red to green.

 

This video is were Skeleton is in trouble, thinking that a safe swim is ahead...


This last video shows both of the lights going and a bit of switching. A lot more ideas to come.

What do you think?

What are your thoughts on your favourite Lego system? Have you created any interesting biomes? I would love to hear your opinion or get some feedback so please add a comment or drop me a line on Twitter: @davidseth.

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