Clickable Culture   Official Research Blog of Phantom Compass
Posted 2006-07-20 by Tony Walsh
Today, the Electric Sheep Company will be bringing LEGO's Mindstorms robots to the virtual world of Second Life, in partnership with Flashpoint PR and Linden Lab. In an earlier critique, I expressed dislike for the idea of building LEGO objects in Second Life (SL), since the virtual world already uses a LEGO-like building system. Since then, I've had a chance to mull over some ways LEGO and SL could be mashed up in more interesting and productive ways.

LEGO is no stranger to virtual, 3D space. Its LEGO Digital Designer toolkit was originally launched in 2003, offering not only a way to model easily with virtual bricks, but works as sort of a CAD system for LEGO builders--virtual models can be priced out and their pieces delivered in tangible form. An open LEGO CAD standard (LDraw) has even been developed for Digital Designer and tools like it. This standard could possibly be used as the basis of communication between LEGO CAD tools and Second Life, allowing LEGO creations built in Digital Designer to be automatically imported and recreated in Second Life (increasing the brand presence of LEGO in SL, and adding value for SL LEGO enthusiasts). On the flipside, imagine official LEGO bricks made for use in Second Life, and a system by which the relative positions and types of each brick could be exported in LDraw format, thus turning Second Life into a LEGO CAD tool (creating more business for LEGO, and adding value for SL LEGO enthusiasts). I don't know how feasible these ideas are (they are certainly not impossible), but my intention is to present examples of how LEGO and Second Life could be more meaningfully mashed up.
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