Cubio is a low-budget platform for LEGO bricks to enable sensing of stacking levels. Our approach consists of modifying existing LEGO blocks by adding thin layers of copper and a single resistor. By measuring the overall resistance at each point of a 8x8 Lego base plate we are able to sense the bricks location and stacking level.

This prototype shows the implementation of Cubio. We explored the design space with various applications showing the capabilities of Cubio in different contexts such as 3D modelling, urban planning and interaction with smart appliances.

The intention was to keep the user experience where children have building blocks to express their creativity and begin to to play with ideas from the field of organisation and architecture. Simultaneously, we allowed all the freedom and interaction level of virtual environments. An important factor is that LEGO bricks have explicit design affordance, they can be stackable constrained by rules provided by the design of the brick and also be arranged to create a wide variety of solid structures.

This project has been made at MIT Media Lab Fluid Interfaces Group.