The beauty of building kits like Lego and Duplo is the fact that they unleash the imagination in ways that ordinary battery driven playthings can never do. Over the years the number of different building kits around the world has multiplied hugely, and one of the sad things is each manufacturer deliberately makes their kit incompatible with others in order to build their own empire. We all lose.
Now an enterprising group known as Free Art & Technology has released an adapter kit called the Free Universal Construction Kit, which lets you connect different brands of building blocks together. It’s a superb idea, made even more powerful by the fact that the kit has been made available free of charge as a downloadable set of plans which can be printed off using a 3D printer.
While 3D printers are not yet as popular as conventional paper printers, this will change over time, at which point products like this will be invaluable ways for the ordinary members of society to change the rules on how to consume products like Lego etc. In fact ubiquitous 3D printing is going to really upset a whole bunch of people who currently make a lot of money from selling spare parts which could easily be made at home in minutes on a 3D printing machine. See this post for an example, and this great example of spare part printing.