Last year, the LEGO Foundation revealed Braille Bricks, a tool to “help children with vision impairment learn critical thinking, problem-solving and collaboration through play.” Today, they are announcing that the bricks are being officially launched in Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, the UK and the US after a successful pilot and testing program. The toolkits will be distributed free of charge to select institutions and schools serving the needs of children with visual impairments. Training and teaching supplements are available to everyone at LEGObraillebricks.com.
LEGO Braille Bricks are molded so that the studs on top represent individual letters and numbers in the Braille alphabet. They are also printed with the letters and numbers so they can be used in a collaborative and inclusive way with sighted peers. The LEGO Foundation will launch Braille Bricks in an additional 13 additional countries in early 2021, including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Finland, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.
Last month, fans of LEGO were invited to vote on one of three titles for the next book the company will publish. The votes are in, and “The Secret Life of LEGO Bricks” took the top spot. The book is targeted at Adult Fans of LEGO (AFOLs) and will be published by the LEGO Group’s publishing partners Unbound and AMEET. The book will be crowdfunded starting today with expected availability in Spring 2022.
“The Secret Life of LEGO Bricks” will feature interviews with the designers, managers and technicians who brought them to life. The book will be written by Daniel Konstanski, the US Editor for Blocks Magazine. Of note, the press release also mentions rewards for crowdfunding backers including a print of the original LEGO wooden duck and several retired LEGO sets with specifics to be revealed soon.
August has arrived and that means new LEGO sets! LEGO has launched 108 new sets and items available today. In addition to new sets like the Nintendo NES and Super Mario lineup, Ideas Grand Piano, Star Wars 501st Battle Pack and LEGO Art, fans in the US and Canada can finally celebrate the summer arrival of Harry Potter, Creator 3-in-1, City, and Ninjago waves that you’ve waited so patiently for. Nearly every LEGO theme has some new sets–it can be a lot to process!– so we have your complete guide right here detailing each and every new set and item. [EDIT: It appears that LEGO may have delayed the US & Canada release of some of these sets until September. We’ve asked for clarification.]
LEGO is also offering two free gifts-with-purchases at the start of August. The first is 30385 Super Mushroom Surprise, free with purchases of LEGO Super Mario sets more than US $40 through August 16th or while supplies last.
LEGO Publishing has announced a fan vote that will determine the direction of the next book they will publish. Fans can vote on LEGO Ideas to choose one of three following titles: “The LEGO Brick Museum,” “The Secret Life of Bricks,” and “LEGO History in 100 Bricks.”
The winning book will be written by Daniel Konstanski, editor of the Blocks magazine. Voting ends on Sunday, August 9th at 7 am PT. More information is included in the press release below.
If you missed out on the 2019 holiday gift with purchase last year, have no fear–Christmas in July is here! 40337 Mini Gingerbread House set is a 499-piece microscale version of the 10267 Winter Village Gingerbread House and is available with any order of $100 or more in the US or Canada through 8:59pm PT on July 26th or while supplies last.
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LEGO has released a video showing off the new LEGO Ideas 21323 Grand Piano. In the video, LEGO Designer Chee Woon Tze tickles the ivory, so to speak, to show off how the piano is constructed and how it plays music. The video has constant piano music in the background but unfortunately does not include what the piano music created by the app will sound like. However, seeing the completed set next to the designer shows how massive the model is in context.
LEGO Ideas has revealed its biggest set yet, 21323 Grand Piano. The massive musical model comes with 3,662 pieces that make up the 25-key keyboard, sleek black lid and body, working internal hammers, and even an original composition. The set will retail for US $349.99 | CA $449.99 | UK £319.99 beginning August 1st (becoming the most expensive LEGO Ideas set ever).
The Grand Piano comes with a motor, smart hub, and sensor used to connect to the LEGO Powered Up app which creates the sound. The piano can be played in either a “self-play” toy piano mode where hitting any key produces the next note in a selected song, or in an “auto-play” mode where the piano moves randomized keys while the app produces music like a player piano.
The Brothers Brick got an early preview of the Grand Piano from the LEGO Ideas design team, so we have included some interesting facts and quotes about the set throughout the article below.
BrickCon today announced that its 2020 convention in October will be moving from the Space Needle to cyberspace. BrickCon is TBB’s “home convention” that usually gathers hundreds of talented LEGO builders in Seattle to exhibit their creations and meet fellow AFOLs (adult fans of LEGO) from around the world. As you might expect due to the current state of the pandemic, a gathering of 500 attendees with more than 10,000 people from the general public isn’t feasible, so BrickCon organizers are translating the full convention to an online format.
BrickCon 2020 will be held online Oct. 2 – 4 with builder registration opening on Aug. 1st. The convention will feature a keynote, online MOC exhibition, building awards including Best of Show and People’s Choice, games, prizes, workshops, social events, and a virtual marketplace for LEGO-related vendors. The convention will also offer registered builders “BrickCon Bundles” for purchase that include mailed swag like exclusive t-shirts, engraved bricks, a custom LEGO kit, activities and “other surprises.”
For this year’s exhibition, BrickCon 2020 will also accept photorealistic renders of LEGO creations since the online format is capable of showcasing them well. An online convention also means that adult builders from anywhere across the globe can attend BrickCon 2020 at home without traveling. With everything going on in the world, The Brothers Brick is excited to see our fellow builders online at BrickCon 2020 in October!
The full BrickCon 2020 announcement, registration details, and contact information are included below.
LEGO and Nintendo have partnered to reveal 71374 Nintendo Entertainment System, a buildable NES console and a retro CRT “tube” TV that comes with a Super Mario Bro. cartridge and a scrolling level reminiscent of World 1-1. The instant nostalgia trip is made up of 2,646 pieces and even comes with an 8-bit Mario.
The NES will be sold exclusively by LEGO through the end of 2020 then expand to other retailers starting in 2021. The set will sell for US $229.99 | CAN $299.99 | UK £209.99 beginning August 1st, the same day that the other new LEGO Super Mario sets become available for purchase.
(Edit: LEGO originally listed the purchase price of US $199.99 online and in its press release and then updated the online price to US $299.99 and then updated it again to US $229.99. We have received confirmation from LEGO that US $229.99 will be the final price.)
Over the weekend, Fairy Bricks’ headquarters was broken into and robbed of their delivery van and a significant amount of the LEGO sets they donate to kids in hospitals. Fairy Bricks is a charity organization that frequently partners with LEGO to organize fundraising events, mosaic-builds, and hospital donations to children in need.
Calling all LEGO dinosaur lovers! The newest summer wave of LEGO Jurassic World sets is now available in the US and Canada. Several retailers have had these on the shelves already, but they are now directly available from LEGO and include dinos like an Ankylosaurus, Gallimimus, Pteranodon, Velociraptor and Indominus Rex as well as an adorable baby Triceratops and Ankylosaurus.
The sets have been available in the UK for a month, but are now available in the US and Canada. Of note, the huge buildable dino of 75936 Jurassic Park: T. rex Rampage and 21320 Dinosaur Fossils are also now back in stock. Take a look at each new Jurassic World set now available after the jump.