Our electronic engineering team was contacted by Light My Bricks with a challenging brief. The technical team at Light My Bricks were working on a pilot project, to evaluate the feasibility and viability of developing a new lighting product, to complement the LEGO® building brick system.
Light My Bricks’ focus was to develop a new consumer product range to align with their successful lighting accessories developed for LEGO® products. This was a new target market and consumer profile for them, representing a shift away from developing lighting products for the traditional maker market.
The challenge for outerspace was to design a system of lighting products that was simple and intuitive to use. The new Night Mode consumer range would need to allow greater flexibility and integration, allowing consumers to add lighting to construction sets and blocks.
a flexible circuit board replaces traditional wiring systems
The key product development focus was to create a design solution that was flexible and consumer friendly, to provide the most options possible when adapting Night Mode products and systems to LEGO® creations. This meant designing items to be as compact, thin and flexible as possible.
Our electronic engineering team replaced the traditional electrical wiring systems that maker customers were using, with a more consumer friendly and flexible circuit board design format.
The flexible circuit board is integral to the new system. It’s flat, compared to traditional wiring, and easily slides underneath and between bricks. It’s very robust and provides direct connection, removing the need for additional connectors and provides simplicity to the design and assembly process.
Our team conducted usability studies to observe, document and test how consumers would thread the flexible board through complex structures, to avoid snags. This informed the technical design and detailing of the new format.
multiple special effects capabilities in one micro-product
Our electronics experts condensed multiple ‘effects’ boards in the existing Night Mode line-up, to create a single special effect product, the FX Spectrum.
FX Spectrum is designed to be small and flexible. It’s easily incorporated into designs. The compact product is micro-controlled with a two stack PCB, providing a multi-function interface in a very small 3×3 LEGO® footprint.
An STM 32 micro-controller contains all firmware needed to produce LED flashing sequences to create multiple effects such as ‘flickering fire’, gunfire, ‘spooky’, pulse and emergency lighting effects that are dialled up or down to the desired frequency – slow, medium and fast.
designed for seamless and safe power distribution
To distribute power through the Night Mode system, our engineering team designed – Docks. These are designed to distribute power via flexible connectors that ensure people don’t plug into the wrong port, preventing malfunction and increasing usability. All ports in Docks are fused to further ensure safety.
Night Mode’s Eclipse cable management clip; Flux pack battery pack for power distribution and Meteor Light products were also developed by the outerspace team in collaboration with Light My Bricks.
lighting up the design awards
Our multi-disciplinary design and engineering team had great fun working with Light My Bricks and recently celebrated Night Mode’s well-deserved award win at the Good Design Awards!
images supplied by Light My Bricks