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Circuit Breaker

Sure, spinning bricks can work as a display

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Breakfast

Last week, I traveled to Dumbo, Brooklyn, to see some interactive, aluminum, mirrored bricks. A company called Breakfast designed a massive “display” called Brixel Mirror that reacts to movement to change what it shows. (You might have seen one of the company’s prior projects: Flip-Discs.) The demo unit I was shown, and the only complete machine right now, features 540 bricks (or “brixels,” as the company refers to them) and measures 19 by 6 feet. At the bottom of each brick column is a Linux controller that signals to the bricks when to move. Each brick also has a PCB built in as well as a motor and an LED. It lights up!

This video gives a good idea of what’s happening inside each brick and how they’re designed:

While it’s neat to interact with the wall through its built-in Intel RealSense cameras, it’s cooler to just set it to autopilot and let it do its thing. The company built a web app that lets users control their display, and the preset programs are mesmerizing to watch.

Breakfast plans to sell custom Brixel units to corporate clients that might display it in their building lobbies, museums, and wherever else you see expensive art. The machine can be put outside, too, so it’s possible one could show up in a park someday. Breakfast tells me the bricks could incorporate a hall effect sensor that would allow them to recalibrate in real time if someone were to grab them. This wasn’t built into the machine I saw, but the goal is to prevent people from destroying them if they were to be used as public art. The company says it’s in talks with multiple potential partners, but the only one it’s willing to say publicly is the Cooper Hewitt Museum in New York.

The unit similar to the one I saw would cost between $750K and $1.5 million. That’s a lot of cash, but I’d love for this to be a real thing. So, someone with money, please commission it:

Photo: Breakfast