At Sony Computer Science Laboratories' recent open house in Tokyo, the company gave the public a glimpse of some of the innovative research its team has been working on. It included a project called Toy Alive: a joint venture between Sony and Lego to develop microchip-embedded bricks that add a new level of electronic interactivity to the popular building toy.
Led by Alexis Andre, the project has already resulted in custom Lego bricks that allow creations to be controlled by a PlayStation controller, but that's just the beginning. LED-embedded bricks can be programmed to glow in unison when combined, so a model of a house can flicker like it's on fire. The new Lego pieces can also interact with a computer, allowing them to be remotely controlled or triggered with some basic Mindstorms-like programming. The researchers are even working on embedding bricks with tiny wireless cameras for an awesome minifig's eye view of a playset.
Sadly, the enhanced Legos are still a few years away at best. The crappy state of batteries means playtimes are currently very limited. But thankfully, in the meantime, good old-fashioned imagination is still perpetual. [Japan Times via Gizmag]