PFx Brick on Kickstarter

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An exciting LEGO-compatible project, PFx Brick, has been launched today on Kickstarter by Jason Allemann (of Ideas Maze fame) and Michael Gale.

PFx Brick is a programmable electronic brick controller designed to offer three major functions for your LEGO creations: motor control, lighting effects and sound effects.

It's compatible with Power Functions motors and lights and can be operated using a PF remote controller. In fact it looks to be incredibly sophisticated and flexible so I encourage you to check out the campaign on Kickstarter and pledge your support.


What is the PFx Brick?

The PFx Brick is an electronic brick controller designed to offer three major functions for your LEGO creations: 1) Motor control, 2) Lighting effects and 3) Sound effects. These functions are controlled using any LEGO Power Functions InfraRed (IR) remote control. The actions the PFx Brick performs are configured using the PFx App software. The App is also used to load sound files on to the PFx Brick. Once configured, the PFx Brick can be built into your LEGO creation transforming it with the magic of light, sound, and animation!



Why another control brick?

Isn't this an SBrick clone? etc. The PFx Brick is a lot more than just a motor control brick. We LEGO fans are lucky that we have a thriving ecosystem of alternative electronic controllers such as the awesome SBrick and BuWizz. These controllers are aimed specifically at motor control applications where multiple motor channels and radio control via Bluetooth technology was a priority. The PFx Brick on the other hand, was designed to offer two new capabilities that we believe have been missing from LEGO models: advanced Lighting and Sound effects. Futhermore, we wanted these features to be super-easy to use. Therefore, we chose Infrared remote control rather than Bluetooth radio technology. We believe the simplicity of instantly using your existing IR remote controls instead of depending on a smart-phone or tablet based control app has a lot of appeal to many users.

When can I download the app?

The PFx App will be made publicly available for download after the successful completion of the PFx Brick Kickstarter campaign. Download links for both Windows and Mac OS X PFx App versions will appear on the Fx Bricks website at http://www.fxbricks.com/pfxbrick/pfxapp/

When will the software API be available?

The PFx Brick USB communications API will be made available after both the successful completion of the PFx Brick Kickstarter campaign and manufacturing of the production version of the PFx Brick. The API will consist of documentation of the USB message format and data structures as well as sample C/C++ code demonstrating the use of the API.

Fx Bricks bio

Fx Bricks is a specialized company combining the creative wonder of LEGO bricks and electrical engineering expertise. This potent combination injects life into LEGO creations with the magic of light, sound, animation, and automation. Founded by long-time LEGO fans Jason Allemann and Michael Gale, Fx Bricks represents the combined wealth of 40+ years of professional engineering and management experience.

Does LEGO know about/support the PFx Brick?

No. The PFx Brick is neither officially supported nor endorsed by the LEGO Group. The PFx Brick, like many other 3rd party products in the LEGO ecosystem, is designed to complement and not compete with products from the LEGO Group. Fx Bricks has been careful to differentiate design elements such as the Power Funtions compatible connectors so that they are not associated with trademarked design features of the LEGO Group.

18 comments on this article

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By in United States,

Just saw this on BrickModelRailroader.com and gave a go at supporting it. Not normally into "non-purist" bits, but it would be interesting to see how it compares with the S-Brick and BuWizz!

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By in United States,

Consider me intrigued :P

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By in Canada,

They can count me in.
It can do sound effects! (and lighting effects.)

If it successfully launches, maybe the next version will be Bluetooth (like the SBrick)

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By in United States,

Sounds like a really cool project, and product. I'd just need to go back to school for a couple semesters to learn how to use it. I'll always be more analog than digital :(

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By in United States,

Sound effects at last! Which means I won't have to pay an arm and a leg for the sound brick from Grand Carousel, without which any brickbuilt version or MOC would be pointless! Count me in, once I have time to get over there!

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By in Italy,

i must say, it really brings the models to life. That video of the helicopter, looked like it would take off any second!

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By in Canada,

Hopefully the light and sounds are better than the gimmicky 80s Lights and Sounds sets Lego released.

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By in United States,

My Builder's Side says Oh Yeah but my Wallet says NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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By in United States,

This would be a great product, but I'm not sure if I'd buy it, considering it's not an official Lego product. I'm honestly surprised that the Lego Group hasn't put out something like this, considering modern technology and the fact that they did it in the 80s. The light and sound bricks looked so cool, and someday when I have the money I hope to buy some light and sound bricks off bricklink or eBay.

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By in United Kingdom,

I'm not sure who they are aiming for. Anyone who can afford a large number of PF sets probably has some kind of smart device, and being able to control your sets dynamically over bluetooth is the unique selling point, enough to go to a 3rd party manufacturer. I don't think adding some lighting effects and preset control sequences is enough vs the standard control brick, you could probably achieve the same with a mindstorms nxt block. Especially as PF3 seems imminent. Its probably not that hard to compete with the nxt block on price but I would only go 3rd party for extra features not lower cost.

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By in United States,

This is a great product but my wallet says no.

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By in United States,

Interesting... I'm not sure what to think of it.

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By in Australia,

I think it's aimed mainly at LEGO railroad fanatics. Adding sound and light control to a locomotive without taking up extra room in the model, all while maintaining compatibility with existing controllers sounds perfect for this use.

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By in France,

Sorry guys but another big bucket of dollars for another brick controler with the limitations of IR, that's too much for me this time !

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By in Australia,

I feel like Lego Kickstarter projects are the only ones you can trust. Everything else seems to be a snake oil industry.

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By in Netherlands,

I almost clicked the link backing it and then I realised this is IR only. That is sadly disappointing. IR is so old fashioned and doesn't work well in bright sunlight or when there is no direct view. For the rest I'm intrigued by the possibilities. And the inclusion of Jason is a big plus.

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By in Canada,

The PFx Brick has been updated to include Bluetooth support in addition to IR. We totally misjudged how important Bluetooth support was to many builders. Luckily, we were already working on it. We reviewed the design, and have decided to exclusively manufacture the PFx Brick with both IR and BT. No changes to reward tiers and delivery plan. Firmware update to enable BT support will be deployed after delivery as well as the PFx App Mobile Edition for both iOS and Android.
Michael Gale (brickdimensions.com) (fxbricks.com)

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