We were all children at one time, and surely some of us remember the pain of trying to make one type of building block work with another type of block. The folks at the Free Art and Technology Lab have an answer for your inner child: adapters that connect any type of building block to any other type of building block.
The project is called the Free Universal Construction Kit. This ”gee, I wish I thought of that ideas” is a set of 79 play set adapter that allow any child to mix up their Duplo, Fischertechnik, Gears! Gears! Gears, K’Nex, Krinkles, Lego, Lincoln Logs, Tinkertoy, ZomeTool, and Zoob building sets in any way imaginable. Most of these adapters are up on Thingiverse, ready to be printed out with a 3D printer or sent to Shapeways.
An interesting aspect of the work of the F.A.T. Lab is the legal and intellectual property aspect; since this is the product of reverse-engineering several building sets, it’s entirely possible the manufactures of these toys wouldn’t want adapters out in the wild. The team really covered their bases, though. Of the ten toy systems included, eight are no longer patent protected, much to the chagrin of the company behind MEGA Bloks. Adapters for the two remaining systems – Zoob and ZomeTool – won’t be released until the patents run out in 2016 and 2022, respectively.
Check out the video after the break for the wonderful ‘a-ha moment’ one of the inventors had when watching his 4-year-old son playing with Tinker Toys and K’Nex.