Legos, the ultimate prototyping material. Many of us have wished we could have music controllers that could be assembled and customized with the ease of Legos; the Lego-like Mawzer modular controller system got our hopes up but still doesn’t seem to have evolved into a product you can actually buy.

Of course, why build something that’s reminiscent of Legos when you could just build it out of real Legos? The stekgreif project has done just that, thanks to a team of three German students (as near as I can figure) named P. Zentis, D. Tzschentke, and G. Homann. (Guys, if you’re out there and want to check in and tell us more, please do!)

stekgreif project page
Flickr stream (currently only one shot in there)

The project looks fascinating. What they’ve done is to take standard sensor components (pots, buttons, a joystick, touchpad, IR beam, and music keyboard), build them into blocks that can connect to a standard Lego board, and provide electrical connections through the board — utterly brilliant, and utterly doable. If you want to recreate the results, they’ve even included a DIY section with schematics. It also looks like they pulled some resources from the uCApps / MIDIbox open source project. First-time DIYers would probably have trouble with this, especially as the documentation is scant and in German, but I could see this as igniting a Lego revolution among those who do know what they’re doing.

Via Matrixsynth, via the beautiful gear-filled SoNiCbRaT.

If anyone has further insight into this, please do chime in in comments.

More MIDI projects:
Legos in the archives of the MAKE:blog (for endless Lego-based DIY hardware fun!); including, yes, a guitar made of Legos as pictured below

Lego DJ booth on CDM

  • Damon

    The Lego modular midi idea could theoretically accidently turn out to the one of the most useful and functional "gimmicks" yet seen in the world of midi control gimmicks, thought I can't imagine it showing up in the Sears catalog.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    What I would like to see is the bottom of the blocks, to see how they connect. I guess if you include resistors inside the blocks and standardize voltage, you should be able to interconnect anything you like.

  • max

    look in DIY section there you will find

    this was an entry in the german junior scientist competition "jugend forscht"

    wiring scheme and rough tinker instructions:
    http://www.stekgreif.com/Schaltplan.pdf http://www.stekgreif.com/Duplobastelanleitung.pdf
    and the dokumention looks quite elaborate on first read:
    http://www.stekgreif.com/Arbeit.pdf

    amazing this is 2!! years old
    http://www.1000inventions.com/detail2.php?id=898

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  • http://www.stekgreif.com Georg H.

    Hey guys,

    I'm one of stekgreif's inventors and happy bout reading your comments on our work.

    Perhaps some day we will rewrite the code and make it faster, better, whatever…

    The bottom of the blocks are shown in "Arbeit.pdf" on page 13. And because of the PIC inside the blocks you are able to connect every instrument you want. We also succeeded in plugging in an electronic piano's pedal.

    On the day of the "jugend forscht" competition we also cooperated spontaneously and just for fun with another team, who invented a new system for lightshow programming – the result was, that we did control a complete lightshow with stekgreif over their software.