I'm not against things like this, but there's no guarantee of interoperability producing superior results. You're just as likely to end up with a chaotic mess if you don't build with a plan in mind; one of the other benefits of a single system is that it forces you into more creative problem-solving.
Actually, "Lego® bricks." Lego severely admonishes using their name as a noun, whether pluralized or not. But, due to that admonishment and a thing called reactance, I was being purposefully breezy with my language. :)
I remember one company whose marketing department demanded that every mention of our product be in the assigned font, bolded, with part of the name subscripted and ®'d. Even in support emails. Even in followups. They never saw just how amazingly artificial it was and how it actually created (mild) barriers to rapport with users. Needless to say, everyone in sales and support that had a clue decided to put that directive into the round file.
PS It's maths, not math.
On the one hand you have 'Meccano', 'Playmobile' and similar, when referring to collections of brand items.
But on the other hand, you would refer to a single brand car park as 'Toyotas' or a collection of single brand laptops as 'Lenovos' without anyone batting an eye.
I'm with you - 'legos' sounds stupid to me - but really I need someone more formally trained in grammar for this one :)
Perhaps in these oft-cited days of lego sets that are more like a few big pieces than lots of little pieces, people will start to think differently.
I guess in American they don't treat it as a mass noun, and maybe they say "a lego" instead of "a piece of lego".
The notion that a single construction system is better fits with this. It expresses a desire to eliminate variables, clearly define the rules, create a very tight system, etc. But, I think the statement that it forces you into more creative problem solving is exactly backwards. It may encourage resourcefulness, which entails some creativity to be sure. But, it asks "what can be done within a confined, limited space?" vs. "what can be done if there were virtually no limits?"
As Americans, I think we need to improve upon the latter style of thinking. It is the source of true invention and creativity vs. mere innovation or improvement upon existing creations as encouraged by the former.
Maybe this is, in part, why we see so many copycat startups and businesses built upon some iterative improvement to an existing process or idea. Instead of always asking, "how can we do something slightly better?", we need to ask more, "what else can we do?"
But, it asks "what can be done within a confined, limited space?" vs. "what can be done if there were virtually no limits?"
That's magical thinking. There are always limits, it's just a matter of which set you pick to work within. You can draw anything you like with a pencil and paper, but if you intend a representational drawing you'll still need to think about things like perspective and dimension, even if you are bending them like MC Escher. Otherwise you get finger paintings, and while I enjoy some aimless noodling as much as the next person (eg http://snd.sc/XeyYnD), it doesn't go anywhere in particular.
Otherwise, I think it's safe to say that you missed my point. I am not advocating constant aimless noodling. I am saying that we focus here entirely too much on the importance of rules and not nearly enough on the creation of new rules.
In short, perhaps you took my statement regarding "virtually no limits" a bit too literally. As it is, you present a false choice between rigid, highly structured, rules-based thinking and pointless meandering about without any basis in reality. Certainly you see a middle ground?
As for my initial read on your comments, what triggered me was your statement that one system (with more rigid rules) inspired more creativity. In my view, you can argue other merits of such a system, but creativity is exactly not one of them. And true creativity is what we are sorely missing in this country and the world.
In fact, removing limits is sometimes exactly what's needed to spark true creativity. Holding the rules of the current system in one's head can be terribly limiting while trying to create something new. It binds one to what is vs what could be.
One can always start with the possibilities and later apply known rules. Creation is frequently an iterative process. There are many thinking styles and what seems counterintuitive to you may be what inspires others. In any case, a system that is relentlessly focused on rules certainly could use some balance. There is virtually no emphasis on pure creation or even critical thinking vs. fact-based learning.
Also, this is an artifact of our culture: we are socializing kids into a system where they go sit at a desk and work within a bureaucracy because these are features of our culture. We are not pastoral nomads, we are not jungle hunter-gatherers, we are not inhabitants of tiny city-states. And most people in our society are not wealthy rockstar founders working in SF.
Instead, I was referring to what we teach our kids academically. That is, we focus more on them knowing the "facts". I believe that we need to spend much more time teaching how to think creatively and critically. Yes, facts are important. We just need balance.
I agree with you 100% that we are teaching kids to work in a bureaucracy; creating "cogs for the machine", I like to say. But I think that's exactly the problem. We need to open up new opportunities for life fulfillment as well as paths to societal contributions. But it's a self-serving cycle. We need cogs so we teach kids to be rule-regurgitating cogs. But, how many more photo sharing apps do we need? OTOH we could use that cure for cancer or alternative fuel source or other thing that has yet to be imagined.
I argue that we could be much further down some of these paths if we taught our kids to imagine, think, and create in addition to teaching them the rules.
Dealing with constraints is the essence of good design.
The interface kit creates a new set of design challenges, particularly with regard to color palette and materials - e.g. Kinects and Tinkertoys have map color to dimensions. Lincoln Logs map color to function. The connectors presumably have their own color. The challenge is expressing a design aesthetic rather than making a kludge.
The physical interface isn't enough.
In the example of the legos, you could include a document with examples of what you can build, and note that at any moment you can improve anything here and there.
It pissed me off that the Lego bucket had tons of pieces, but one of the other two had some custom pieces from a space shuttle that were awesome, but fitted nothing else.
Anybody, including Makerbot could make a commercial successor to Makerbot.
Additive or subtractive, it's a detail and lots of these companies are active in both fields.
I really don't see the problem. Simply ignore them, beat them on price and features and they'll go to their deserved end, which is to cease to exist.
And if you want to speed it up then you should sue them for taking what's yours (if you were a contributor to some bit that made it into their commercial offering), a lawsuit testing the GPL in that fashion is overdue anyway. Probably they'll fold before it goes to trial, as they always do.
When I was a kid fisher technik was considered better than lego but far far more expensive. There were analog electronic and logic blocks and it was (far) easier to make functioning machinery with Fisher Technik than it was with lego (back then the lego robotics revolution had definitely not happened yet).
Further down he notes that this only holds for private and non-commercial use.
The beauty of each set is its self-consistency. If you attached this to that, then there's a good chance that 3rd and 4th will fit right in too. But once you start mixing sets, all the proportions fly out of the window and so to assemble something meaningful you would still need to build modules from the same set and then use these adapters to connect them together. Nice to have, certainly, but it doesn't sound that dramatically more interesting.
the tolerances required for legos to work are quite small. they mention this in the implementation section which says they use 2.5 micron measurement.
but 3D printers are not nearly so accurate. makerbot's page says their latest is 100 micron.
so if you print the design, it will have the wrong measurements.
what's missing here?
Building an entire structure out of an AM construction set would be a disaster. Even professional grade printers aren't even close to 2.5 micron.
This is not a good title.