Helping the Blind to See the World through LEGO®

The LEGO® Group to Pilot Audio and Braille instructions for the Blind.

At the Recognised Fan Media days in Billund, earlier this year, I attended a presentation by Matthew Shifrin. Matthew is no ordinary LEGO Fan. He has been blind since birth, and has never seen a LEGO brick. He had a story to tell us, and he delivered it with passion.

Matthew Shifrin prepares to tell the assembled Fan Media about his experiences building LEGO as a child.
A Labour of Love

For his 13th Birthday, a friend, Lilya gave Matthew a copy of 7573 Battle of Alumet, one of the sets tying in with Prince of Persia movie. At the same time, Lilya presented him with a large binder containing step by step instuctions – hand typed on a Perkins Brailler.

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A Man’s Got to Know His Limitations: Control+ and Powered Up Apps [August 2019]

The New Technic Smart hub became available this week, as part of 42099 X-treme 4×4 Off Roader. This article discusses what we can expect the long awaited Control+ App to do and what it won’t. I also take a look at the ever expanding range of connected apps produced by LEGO A/S today.

The first of August has past and there have been a number of new, released. If you are a Technic Fan, you are possibly curious about the new 4×4 X-treme Off Roader 42099. Certainly, it’s one I have been looking forward to seeing.

I had an opportunity to see this new model, as well as the new Control+ App demonstrated by members of the design team while in Billund, at the Recognised Fan Media days in May this year. Amongst other things, the set features the new Technic Smart Hub, 2 new Technic XL linear motors, and one Technic L linear motor. I am excited to get my hands on this set as soon as possible, to build the set and experience the new Control+ App. I might have to wait until the Australian online store gets more stock.

I also hope to incorporate the new Control+ Hub in a MOC later in the year.

But Not today.

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Building LEGO Tower for Real at the LEGO House: On NOW

LEGO Tower floors take shape at the LEGO House on Friday June 21st. Image: Don Meadows.
Floors lined up for furnishing at the LEGO Tower Build Event at the LEGO House this weekend.
Image: Don Meadows

Have you heard about LEGO Tower? The mobile game, due for release in July, from LEGO Games, and Nimblebit, the developers of Tiny Tower? This weekend, visitors to the LEGO House have the opportunity to build their own floors for a LEGO Tower, and contribute to a world record attempt for the World’s Largest Diorama made from LEGO® Bricks.

The event runs during Saturday and Sunday, having started on Friday, 21st June. The final measurement will occur on Sunday Afternoon (CEST).

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Back to basics with Stuck in Plastic

Sometimes life just gets in the way. Over the last year, I think I can count the number of times I have headed out to take photographs on one hand. I could make any number of excuses, but in real life I just hadn’t felt like it. Work has been busy. Writing and reviewing has been taken a little more energy than I expected. And I just haven’t felt in the mood.

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LEGO LEGACY: Heroes Unboxed Announced

Today, Gamesloft Studios, in conjunction with LEGO Games, have unveiled their latest offering, coming later in the year, the nostalgia filled LEGACY Heroes Unboxed. The Rambling Brick had a chance to get a sneak preview with the developers from GameLoft Studios.

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First Images Technic Powered Up Hub

I’m in Billund today, taking part in the Fan Media Days. We have just had a presentation from the Powered Up team.

We have now seen the new technic hub unveiled, as well as two new motors designed to run with the platform.

The new Technic hub has 4 ports, as well as connectors around the border. Unlike the current Smart Hub used in LEGO City trains, it will be powered by AA Rather than AAA Batteries.

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The Rambling Brick Is Going On The Road…

The Rambling Brick is going on the road, and I need your help!

Next Week, the Rambling Brick is off to Billund, to take part in the Recognised LEGO Fan Media Days.
I have some interviews lined up with designers from Architecture, Overwatch, Powered Up, LEGO Games and Technic.

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Talking about Boost In Billund: Interview with Carl Merriam

Meeting LEGO Boost

Since it was announced at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, LEGO® Boost has been anticipated as an easy to use robotics platform. Designed for use by children aged 7 and up, the tablet based system was released in most of the world at the start of August, and made its way into the Australian retail Channels in October 2017.  With a retail price of $AU250, and 845 elements, including a mixture of System and Technic elements, as well as a new integrated Move Hub, I was intrigued by what it might have to offer for easy MOC automation.  At the LEGO® Fan Media Days in Billund this year, I had the opportunity to meet with Carl Merriam, one of the model designers who has been involved with LEGO Boost. We had a talk about some of the features of the Boost system, and looked at what some of the included models have to offer.

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Thanks for your time Carl, could you perhaps start by explaining a little about the basics of LEGO Boost? Continue reading

A Dialogue with CEO Bali Padda

The Recognised LEGO Fan Media Days provided a great opportunity to meet representatives of other LEGO Fan Media from around the world.  In conjunction with the team from RevistaBricks, and HispaBrick Magazine, we reconstructed our meeting with then CEO Bali Padda.  The article that follows is reproduced from HispaBrick Magazine 28, which is now available for download.

As part of the LEGO® Fan Media Days at the end of May 2017, the represented LEGO® Fan Media organisations were joined by the CEO of the LEGO® Group, Bali Padda, for a dialog. He has been with the LEGO® Group for 15 years, initially based in the United States, and then in the UK, where he has been in the role of Chief Operations Officer.

While the appointment of his successor, Niels B. Christiansen, has already been announced, Mr Padda gave us some interesting insights into some of the issues currently facing the company:

RLFMs: You have now been in your new role for around six months. What do you think are the challenges in this new role?

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Meeting Mette: LEGO Rebrick at the RLFM Days.[Interview and new Contest]

In which I have a conversation with Mette Hansen about the LEGO® Rebrick program: whats been popular, where in the world you can enter from, and the challenges of running contests when there is a seperate owner of the intellectual property. Of course things have progressed since this interview in June, and with the announcement of the new UCS Millennium Falcon, there is a new contest on Rebrick, with the new set as a prize!

I have mentioned some of the contests featured on Rebrick here previously. As the LEGO® Group’s official contest platform for teenage and adult builders, the prizes on offer for the contests can be quite exciting. As part of the Fan Media Days earlier this year, I had a chance, along with Christian Breinbauer from Revistabricks.com, to meet with Mette Frøkjær Hansen, one of the team who has been working with the LEGO® Rebrick platform.

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Mette Frøkjær Hansen, explaining some of the details about the Rebrick Platform at the 2017 LEGO Fan Media Days.

Rambling Brick: So far we have seen competitions covering multiple themes, from Cars to Batman, Technic, Friends and Modular Buildings. The MiniModular competition, however, offered such an amazing prize pack it appeared to have a lot of interest online.[That is to say, the winner would receive the entire 10 year run of modular buildings from Cafe Corner to Assembly Square.] Was it the most subscribed competition that you have had to date?

Mette Hansen:It was actually the second most popular contest that we have had: the one that was the most popular, and got the most entries was actually LEGO® Bionicle, last year. We had that last fall, as an ode to the theme being discontinued.

Had the fact that the theme was going to be discontinued been announced at that stage?

Show us Your Makuta – entry by TolerantAxe97

No, at that time it hadn’t officially announced, but we wanted to do something for the Bionicle fans, because they are just so amazing, and so creative. The Bionicle contest got over two thousand entries! It’s sometimes hard for us. We have no idea when we publish a contest: will this get two thousand entries, or a hundred entries? Now, we are starting to get some more learnings, because the Rebrick platform has been around for a bit of time now, but it is still relatively new: we launched in March 2016 with this specific contest platform. We are still excited to see which contests will get a lot of entries, which ones are less popular. But for us it is not necessarily about the volume of entries. It’s also about people being excited about the theme, and if only fifty people or twenty people are really excited about the topic and they build something amazing and they contribute and upload and help to inspire the wider community, that’s enough. That’s Mission: Accomplished! Continue reading