The development of a Lego-style brick for the construction industry could change the way that real world infrastructure and facilities are built.
While Lego bricks have long made the creation of toy-sized buildings and vehicles a task of comparative ease even for toddlers, the development of real-life structures and facilities by adults continues to rely on traditional bricks and mortar methods of construction.
This could soon change, however, with the development of a new construction material which borrows principles from Denmark's most beloved contribution to the global toy industry.
The Smart Brick (S-Brick) is a construction material whose individual components can be fitted together in a manner highly akin to the Lego brick. Its developers claim this results in a building process which is much quicker and more efficient than conventional methods.
The brick is made from a high-strength concrete and possesses a set of protruding teeth on the top corresponding to a row of cavities on the bottom, which permits individual components to interlock firmly together.
The bricks dispense with the need for cement via the use of a special adhesive which binds the pieces together in a manner akin to double-sided sticky tape.
While its marked resemblance to the iconic children's toy would appear to be the most distinctive feature of the new construction material, its creator Ronnie Zohar said it was not his original intention to emulate Lego bricks and that sustainable building was first and foremost on his mind during the process of development.
In addition to slashing costs by as much as a half and reducing energy usage by around 30 per cent during the construction process itself, Zohar claims the bricks can dramatically raise the efficiency of completed buildings due to the large internal spaces they contain, which play a strong insulating role.
The ease with which S-bricks can be assembled also facilitates their handling by robot builders and the residents of poor and remote communities, who may not have access to construction experts.
The hollow bricks also enhance the functionality of buildings by providing spaces for infrastructure elements such as plumbing and wiring, which can be easily accessed by means of removable panels incorporated into the bricks themselves.
While the S-brick possess tremendous promise, Zohar's company, Kite Bricks, currently only has a prototype and IP protection for the product, and is seeking $3 million more in funding to bring it to market.