Sony and Lego have sealed a partnership to create a new generation of Lego building bricks. Dubbed Toy Alive, the new electronic brick project was recently unveiled in Tokyo, at the Sony Computer Science Laboratories 25th anniversary open house.
The interactive Lego bricks are still in prototype stage. They consist of simple bricks with embedded microchips controllable by PC or DualShock gamepad, in a move that aims at making playing with Lego blocks more like videogame play. The Lego-Sony partnership is aimed at helping Lego retain its customers, as the Danish company is afraid of losing more and more clients to videogames.
The idea behind the project is to create electronic bricks that can communicate with each other and a computer. Toy Alive would allow the blocks to be remote controlled and perform various functions, such as movement or displaying different light patterns.
At the anniversary open house, the two companies displayed a series of next-generation Lego bricks embedded with different electronics, including a motor and a built-in camera which offered users a Lego-eye view on their smart devices in real time.
The Toy Alive team even demonstrated a tiny DualShock-controlled platform for a chase game monitored by webcam and computer. Other bricks equipped with LED lights were arranged in a house pattern to make it look like it was on fire. Other pieces included an actuator that allowed a Lego brick model to be destroyed, also via remote.
Lego has experimented with interactivity in its brick sets before, when it released the Mindstorms line for students and programmers. The Toy Alive project however is designed to take the idea further, by keeping the Lego bricks simple and small and suitable for their primary target audience: children.
The project has only been in development for about a year, so it will probably take some time until any interactive Lego bricks will be available for widespread purchase. One problem Lego and Sony will have to solve before retailing the product is limited battery life. Developers are hoping to overcome this problem and are planning to first release the new bricks as parts of normal Lego sets in the near future.
[Image via Bettercreditblog]