If these lumps of concrete look familiar, that's because they take some of their inspiration from Lego — but there's more to them than child's play. Created by a company called Kite Bricks, the blocks are actually referred to as Smart Brick, or S-Bricks to their chums.
They come in a range of shapes and sizes, but all feature rows of knobs along their tops which slot into voids at the bottom of others. They're fastened together with special adhesive, rather than mortar. Steel bars can also be inserted through channels in the bricks to add strength.
Kite Bricks can put together kits of the bricks, including standardised windows and doors, allowing a simple house to be constructed while creating virtually no mess or debris. But aside from ease of manufacture, the bricks have other practical features too: they have open internal voids within them to provide insulation, and they feature easily accessible channels through which plumbing and wiring can run.
Sadly, the bricks are currently at the prototype stage, and the company needs to raise around $US3 million for them to go into full-scale production. Maybe Lego could invest to target the most grown-up of markets? [Kite Bricks via Wired.co.uk]