These Origami-Like Blocks Could Make You More Creative

These Origami-Like Blocks Could Make You More Creative
Children

Troxes, from a student at MIT, are meant to encourage abstract, spatial and artistic thinking among the next generation of thinkers

Ido Lechner, Home Editor
  • 6 june 2017

While Legos and other popular modular block systems have done a lot for education, at times their cubed format seems counterintuitive to their quest to encourage ‘out of the box’ thinking. Understanding that you can only build with the tools you have, Jonathan Bobrow looked to nature as part of an MIT Media Lab assignment to create a new ‘press-fit kit;’ in other words, a system of interlocking objects that doesn’t require any form of adhesive to conjoin. Looking to “be cheeky,” Bobrow ultimately did away with formfitting squares in favor of triangles—a shape more readily found in nature that can be formed into more organic-looking compounds.

The folding paper blocks of Troxes, as Bobrow ultimately decided to call them, manifest in three 3D shapes: a tetrahedron (made of four triangular pieces), an octahedron (made of eight) and icosahedron (made of 20). The difference in the number of faces each type of piece has allows for more complex designs, as well as the ability to build structures at various angles—a departure from Lego’s vertical and horizontal limits. Interestingly, these shapes also form the building blocks of our world: protein folds exist in tetrahedral chains, octahedrons are structures commonly found inside of diamonds and many common viruses have icosahedral bodies.

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Upon graduating from MIT, Bobrow founded a company called Move38, which will serve as a platform for the young entrepreneur to build out a collection of items that encourage abstract, spatial and artistic thinking among the next generation of thinkers. Having started from humble beginnings—laser-cutting hundreds of pieces during nights and weekends, posting his creations to Instagram and taking them to events—Bobrow has transitioned from initial prototypes to a Kickstarter campaign, which has greatly surpassed its funding goals. Troxes kits will ship to funders as early as September 2017.

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“If you give [people] something different and let them build their own system or grammar, you get to see this broad range of diversity,” Bobrow told Co.Design. “I don’t expect that five years from now Troxes or any toy that allows kids to think non-rectilinearly will change the way we build every house or lead to the next great discovery of the way organisms interact. But I do think it’s that kind of thinking, the ability to question the status quo or the norm and approach it from a different angle leads to these really enormous breakthrough discoveries.”

Pointing to research suggesting that Einstein’s discovery that mass bends space time was a conclusion arrived at by an indirect pattern of thought, Bobrow backs up his claims that building every which way can lead to breakthroughs for those who typically appreciate a more schematic approach. Move38 is gearing up for large-scale production following the Kickstarter campaign, wherein Bobrow hopes to unshackle the world’s creativity using fun and unordinary structures.

Troxes

While Legos and other popular modular block systems have done a lot for education, at times their cubed format seems counterintuitive to their quest to encourage ‘out of the box’ thinking. Understanding that you can only build with the tools you have, Jonathan Bobrow looked to nature as part of an MIT Media Lab assignment to create a new ‘press-fit kit;’ in other words, a system of interlocking objects that doesn’t require any form of adhesive to conjoin. Looking to “be cheeky,” Bobrow ultimately did away with formfitting squares in favor of triangles—a shape more readily found in nature that can be formed into more organic-looking compounds.

+building blocks
+children
+Design
+Education
+Education
+LEGOs
+MIT Media Lab

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