How cool would it be if all of the sweet Lego builds that pop up on Flickr and in forums were suddenly sets you could buy? I know the whole point is that people aren’t following plans and building their own crazy designs, but Lego DeLorean? Lego Blade Runner Spinner? Awesome.
Originally launched in Japan, Lego’s Cuusoo platform was recently opened up to a global beta. The crowdsourced design platform works a lot like Kickstarter or Quirky; fans submit their designs and other fans vote on them. Once a project has 10,000 supporters it officially gets considered for real production. It’s not just Lego ripping people off: the creators get a 1 per cent cut of the total sales. It’s a friggin brick-based democracy.
Unlike Kickstarter, there’s no immediate financial commitment — although you make it up to Lego in the form of market research. When you decide to support a project, Lego asks you how old you are, how much you would pay for the kit and how many you want, since of course you’re not going to stop at just one Delorean when you could have an arsenal. The community has more than 20,000 members collaborating on projects, some of which have been photographed and described in gorgeous detail. Cars and sci-fi are popular, but there’s other far-fetched Lego creations as well.
Lego does get the final say on production — no amount of support will guarantee something gets made, just that it’ll be considered — but two kits from the Cuusoo incubator are already available for sale in Japan. There’s definitely some copyright/licensing legal blah blah with some of these amazing fantasies, but if Lego can be happy bedfellows with George Lucas I have faith in their powers of corporate persuasion. This is a call to action: go vote for the projects you want. Bring me Cuussoo projects in America. Thank you. [Lego Cuusoo]