The Programmable Brick

Epistemology and Learning Group [ ]
MIT Media Laboratory [ ]

The MIT Programmable Brick is a tiny, portable computer embedded inside a LEGO brick, capable of interacting with the physical world through sensors and motors. The Programmable Brick extends the child's construction kit, enabling students to build not only structures and mechanisms, but also behaviors. With Programmable Bricks, students can spread computation throughout their worlds: they can use Programmble Bricks to build autonomous robots and "creatures" [ ]; to create "active rooms" (for example, making the lights turn on whenever anyone enters the room); and to organize "personal science experiments" (for example, counting the number of steps they take in a day). By engaging students in new types of design activities, the Programmable Brick encourages students to see themselves as designers and inventors. At the same time, these activities can help students develop a deeper understanding of important scientific concepts related to behavior, feedback, and control.

We are currently developing a new generation of Programmable Bricks called Crickets [ ]. These new bricks are smaller, lighter, and cheaper than their predecessors, and they have enhanced communications capabilities.

The Programmable Brick is a research project at the MIT Media Laboratory; it is not a commercial product of the LEGO Group. The primary design team for the Programmable Brick includes: Fred Martin [ ], Mitchel Resnick [ ], Brian Silverman, Robbie Berg, Rick Borovoy, Randy Sargent, and Seymour Papert. Click here [ ] for more information about the Programmable Brick project.

To contact the Programmable Brick design team, write us e-mail at

Copyright 1997