Previously there has been no miscegenation in the world of constructive toys. Legos fit with other Legos, Tinkertoys go with Tinkertoys and K'Nex connect with K'Nex. But now two organizations, the Free Art and Technology Lab (the crew behind SML, among other projects) and Sy-Lab, have teamed up to release the Free Universal Construction Kit. Before I go any further,
1. Don't acronymize that and say it in front of your kids.
2. Speaking of acronyms, let's see if the editor lets the title of this blog post stand. (Ed. Note: Yes Editor Approves.)
The Free Universal Construction Kit is a collection of 80 different adapters that you can download, print with your Makerbot, and use to connect toys from ten different manufacturers.
Here's an illustration of the problem:
And here's the solution, complete with Toy Commercial Guy Voice-Over:
It is interesting that from a consumer perspective, this is essentially the reverse experience of the safety razor business model, whereby you get the handle for free and steadily spend on razors. Nowadays you can pony up for a 3D printer, then steadily print out stuff for free.
How long, by the way, before Lego et al. realize that consumers can print themselves pirated Legos? Do you think they'll take steps to shut it down, or embrace it with some clever solution?