Rocco Balsamo


Startup Idea: Electronic Legos that you can Import into Video Games

(photo credit)

I will gladly sell you this idea to you in exchange for 50% of your company.*

*jk/LOL, I’m working on a startup idea myself, and it’s quite apparent that ideas are the easy part!

I went to Maker Faire in San Mateo, CA yesterday, and saw some awesome projects, including this one by Makerologist (twitter, facebook):

It is a large lego-style teaching tool that explains how to do basic circuitry to kids. It’s called JumboDuinos.

I love this project because it put me on a level playing field with the kids. I’m a software engineer by day, but if you asked me how the actual circuits INSIDE my computer worked, I would stare at you with a blank face like this:

baby grizzly bear (credit)

I really enjoyed JumboDuinos and think we’ll see it soon in places like the Living Computers Museum or the Computer History Museum. If anyone can get it done, it’s Clarissa San Diego, the proprietor of Makerologist. She is a badass, and told me that she’s working with a number of different museums and stores on the project.

Another inspirational product

I also recently come across a Kickstarter, called Brixo. It’s electrified Legos (AKA, “building bricks”, for the lawyers) that “bring your designs to life with electronic sensors and motors”.

Here’s a video from 2014:

I think these are totally awesome, and would love to get a set when they come out! Brixo’s kickstarter is currently closed. Maybe they take blog-article bribes?

But what if…

I know that games like Lego Star Wars are all the rage for the 5–12 age group:

Lego Star Wars

I was actually a programmer on a Lego game, but I’ve only played the various games briefly. I do know this — generally, one of the bonuses is that you “build” different models via a simple animation as you progress through the game. I found this lame, because putting together the legos is 98.7% of the fun.

What if there were circuited legos like JumboDuinos or Brixo that knew about their relationship to each other in meatspace? You could then build your Lego model and import it into your game.

Kids (and big kids like me) would love it because it ties together virtual and IRL worlds.

Lego would love it because they could sell bricks AND games (at the same time even?!)

From a technical side, I have no idea how hard this would be to do… Maybe it’s done with circuits? Or you take a snap with your phone and it figures out what bricks are where with computer vision? Maybe they have heat sensors?


I dunno, somebody else, pls do all the hard work & gimme half the money when you make a bazillion dollars ;-).


I’m working on a “bigger-than-a-side-project” project in the video games space. Want to be the first to find out what it is? Join my “mostly not spam” list and I’ll let you know when it gets closer.

Please 💚 or follow if you learned something today. It gives me lots of motivation to continue writing articles like this.

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