A heartwarming story from China features a father who has gone above and beyond for his children and designed a new toy that is fantastically educational while also fulfilling his son’s dreams.
This toy inadvertently teaches children the basics of electric circuits through a building block set. It comes with colourful lights, electronics, radio parts, MP3 players and much more while enabling children to build anything they want.
Ye Xi Quan is a 41-year-old father of two. His mission to create such a toy came from a casual promise made to his youngest son, NiuNiu, to build the toy of his dreams. It has taken two years and around 400,000 RMB (approximately $62,000 USD) but he has produced a very high-tech, personalised version of Lego.
The father and son have shared this hobby for NiuNiu’s whole life. Ye Xi Quan spent more than 6,000 RMB (almost $1000 USD) on Lego in anticipation of his son’s birth. So when NiuNiu was turning five years old, he said: “I want to build a tall building just like the one on the opposite side of the street, with all the lights on.”
The Lego they owned was not good enough to create this building feat. So Ye Xi Quan promised to make his son the specific blocks which were required. However, his promise was not forgotten, and so he had to follow through.
Ye Xi Quan knew very little about electronics. So he was forced to join forces with a friend who could help him design light circuits for the blocks. This concept was a simple one. At that time the idea was, to make transparent plastic blocks, with a light mounted on the base, with astigmatism lit the whole house”, Ye Xi Quan stated.
Cooler than 3D printed Lego
It took two years to get things right. The reason it took so long is simple: “The majority of the market building block are used for creating different shapes, but my building blocks are functional, you really can use them and build functional things.” Also, it’s safe for children to play with, even if the current is capable to power a MP3 player, lights or radio. The blocks also should teach kids the basic concepts of circuits and electricity.
Although the design was relatively easy, the blocks were 3D modeled and then printed by a Chinese service provider. The cost: around 60,000 RMB or almost $10,000 USD.
“The main reason was 3D printing is too expensive, there are several parts in a set of building blocks, each of them need to be modeled and 3D printed separately,” he explained.
However, the results were worth it – the circuit and battery were embedded in the block bases on which 3D printed transparent blocks can be added to make children smile!
License: The text of "Chinese Father Invents 3D Printed High-Tech Lego" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.