And his dad is Kickstarting it for him5.0K - Staff Writer, Tech
Remember the good ol' days of building spaceships out of Legos and vocalizing the sound effects? A "whoosh" here and a "pew pew" there?
Remember the good ol' days of building spaceships out of Legos and vocalizing the sound effects? A "whoosh" here and a "pew pew" there? It was a great way to transform our toys into living, breathing machines, letting us recreate our favorite scenes from Star Wars or create new tales of our own.
Chase Freedman, an eight-year-old from Georgetown, Mass., is taking that idea a step further with his invention called the Brick Sound Kit. The kit is a programmable toy that snaps onto creations made out of Legos, Mega Bloks or other compatible building bricks and adds motion-activated sounds. And through the help of his father, Chuck—chief developer advocate at Intel's cloud group—the two are raising money for the commercial release of the toy on Kickstarter. (So far the campaign has raised nearly $4, 200 out of the $18, 000 goal.)
Beyond giving people a new way to play with their creations, the Brick Sound Kit is also meant to encourage children to learn how to code and be more active when they play.
Chuck Freedman and his son, Chase. (Courtesy of Chuck Freedman.)
Speaking to BostInno on Monday, Chuck said his son first came up with the idea more than a year ago when the two were playing with a custom spaceship made out of Lego bricks and were challenging each other to make the coolest-sounding spaceship sound effects. At a certain point, Chuck said, he made a really cool sound effect, and Chase asked him if he could make that sound effect again—a feat that was attempted imperfectly. That's when the lightbulb went on.
"You know what would be great is if we could record our own sounds and have them play back when we move the ship, " Chuck recalled Chase saying.
So with Chuck's tech background and Chase's enthusiasm for making his own inventions—Doc Brown from "Back to the Future" is one of his heroes—the two built a prototype.
After receiving a lot of positive feedback from friends and family, Chuck said, he looked into how he could help commercialize his son's invention and make it something that other people could use. The two ended up contracting the Boston University Electronics Design Facility to develop the kit's circuit board and Clear Design Lab of Boston to design the enclosure. The connection with BU was made possible in part because the school is Chuck's alma mater, he said.
Because the toy was being developed locally, Chuck said, Chase was able to be involved in every step of the development process.