Lego Connect

With Filippo Cuttica
LEGO CONNECT allows kids to continue to build together even when they are not sitting together. It also allows them to compete and collaborate, by giving a set of rules for digital/physical games.

The essence of the concept is to enable children to play socially with LEGO remotely. The base of the concept is a piece of software that captures images of LEGO constructions and recognizes LEGO bricks. On the physical side is a special camera-equipped “stage” on which the
building takes place. The combination of the two things, the software and the hardware, constitutes a platform for playing different games based on LEGO construction.

Making up games with rules, and negotiating changing rules is form of social play. During play, the rules change and evolve through either democracy or dictatorship – the process of negotiating changing rules is important, and setting rules essential.

Especially among boys, competition is an important part of play. Competing in teams or head-to-head is fun but also serious play with the purpose of finding your place in the social hierarchy and establishing friendships.

LEGO can help kids develop friendships and build social skills by enabling remote collaborative and competitive LEGO play

We explored a range of ideas around rule-based play – following rules, making rules and changing rules. Combining remote play with rule-based play led to new possibilities, and allowed us to combine the joy of building, the ability to display remotely and introduced an aspect of competition and collaboration. We also this platform as a way to share your achievements and creations.

Through several iterations and subsequent evaluations of the prototype with boys between 8-11, it became evident that boys really liked to compete against each other, but also just competing against the clock. We also learnt that the boys like to store and share their creations, but not necessarily in a physical way, i.e. they would like to be able to show their friends what they build so they can build the same model. The boys instantly understod the connection between the screen and what happened on our device, they seemed eager to play with it would like to have more virtual levels and other options to choose from.


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