In recent years, Legos have gained a reputation as much more than just a child's toy. Almost everything from motorized wheelchairs to robots that forge bones can be assembled from the iconic plastic blocks. Now with the TinkerBrick case, you can actually connect your iPhone or iPod touch to any Lego piece to build interactive toys, useful attachments, and much more.
The front and back of the case are covered in small studs and holes that interlock with any Lego piece, essentially turning the whole gadget into a standalone Lego brick with a touchscreen. And since all Legos since 1958 have been molded to the exact same specifications, this means you can incorporate all varieties of Legos – Technics, Mindstorms, Power Functions, etc. – into whatever you build. It's a simple concept, but with the proper apps a creative Lego builder could use the TinkerBrick case to add some interesting new functionality to their smart device.
The TinkerBrick website encourages users to concoct their own creations, but also gives a wide variety of suggestions, along with instructions. These range from simple enhancements, like a stylus holder, to more advanced constructions, like a replica Star Wars X-Wing ship with sound effects. Some are just toys that incorporate an app, while other ideas actually change the function of the device entirely, to transform it into a working steady-cam or a full-sized touchscreen guitar, for instance. The site even has designs for video game controllers that are custom built for specific control schemes.
With enough bricks, there's seemingly no limit to the number of ways you could turn a smart device into something completely different. TinkerBrick cases are currently available exclusively through Amazon.com in red, yellow, black, and white for US$34.95. For now, they are only available for the 4th-generation iPod touch, but the developer has recently announced that cases for the iPhone 4/4S and iPhone 5 will be coming soon.
Check out the video below to see a few examples of what you can build with the TinkerBrick case.