Flybrix is piggybacking on a toy-making giant to let kids build drones using Lego bricks. Now you don’t need to use your imagination to see your Lego creations fly.
Aimed at kids ages 14 and older, the drone is “crash-friendly” and rebuildable because the parts are made of Legos.
The product comes from a couple of “Legomaniacs,” whose obsession with building started at MIT and Caltech. It’s the first time Legos will be taking flight in drone form, which means Flybrix is beating a multibillion-dollar toy company to the punch.
And it’s all in the name of learning. The hands-on platform encourages the development of critical skills — without relying on iPads, computers, or phone screens. It teaches the hard skills of science, technology, engineering, math (STEM), physics, geometry, aerodynamics, electrical engineering, and design.
San Francisco-based Flybrix also cultivates essential soft skills — like creative problem solving and teamwork — by encouraging creators to experience trial and error. The do-it-yourself kit comes with quad, hex, and octo airframes. The Flybrix drones are durable enough to withstand crashes, so anyone from a novice to an expert tinkerer can learn from the rebuilding and flying loop.
Initially, the basic kit will be $150 and the deluxe kit will be $190. After the introductory period, Flybrix’ basic kit will sell for $189 and the deluxe kit for $249.
You can order a kit today, and units will ship within six weeks. Flybrix drones take 15 minutes or less to build and includes all the materials needed. That includes assorted Lego bricks, eight quick-connect custom boom-arm motors and propellers, one surprise minifig pilot, one pre-programmed Arduino-compatible open-source flight control circuit board, an instruction manual, and Flybrix configuration software.
The drone connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth, and you control it with an iOS or Google Play flight control app.
Plus, Flybrix provides 10 ready-to-play games, like Battle Bricks, designed to practice controlled flying and strategic building, so that new and experienced pilots can challenge each other while they learn.
“Flying toy drones is fun, but when you can use your imagination and make your own drone from LEGO bricks and fly it – that’s an amazing thrill,” said Flybrix’s chief play Oofficer Holly Kasun, in a statement. “We embrace the trial and error process for learning because that’s where the ‘ah-ha’ breakthroughs happen. The experience of building, flying, crashing, and rebuilding as a creative way for parents, kids, and teachers to harness the power of play to learn tech and engineering’ — that’s our goal.”
Amir Hirsch, Robb Walters, and Holly Kasun founded the company in 2015, and they completed beta testing in the first part of 2016. The company has four employees and is self-funded.