Expand Your Lego Horizons at Maker Faire with Wayne and Layne

Expand Your Lego Horizons at Maker Faire with Wayne and Layne
Adam (left) and Matthew or Wayne and Layne.
Adam (left) and Matthew of Wayne and Layne.

Are you ready to push your Lego robotics skills?

Adam Wolf and Matthew Breckler will be waiting for you at World Maker Faire New York.

Adam and Matthew are better known as Wayne and Layne, a part-time business that makes open source electronic kits (the company moniker combines their two rhymin’ middle names).

Two of their popular kits blink: the “Blinky POV” and “Blinky Grid” are little light toys that can be reprogrammed by holding them up to a computer screen.

The duo also excels in expanding Lego Mindstorms.

The Bricktronics Shield is their most popular product in this area: it allows users to use an Arduino to interface with Lego Mindstorms’ motors and sensors, dramatically expanding the possibilities.

BTW, all of the above Wayne and Layne kits are available in the Maker Shed.

“We wanted to help people, kids especially, use the skills they had gained in Lego Mindstorms NXT and transfer them to a larger community,” Adam told MAKE. “To do that, we made a few products to help connect the Lego Mindstorms NXT peripherals — like motors, buttons, color sensors, and ultrasonic proximity sensors — to an Arduino.”

Last year, the pair wrote a book with MAKE’s John Baichtal: Make: Lego and Arduino Projects.

For this upcoming World Maker Faire New York Adam and Matthew have kicked it up a notch. They connected an Arduino with a Bricktronics Shield. They then connected that Arduino to a Raspberry Pi via a USB cable. They put a wifi dongle on the Raspberry Pi, and wrote a little piece of Python that interfaces with a webpage that monitors and controls the Lego Mindstorms peripherals.

The result is a high-power interactive robotics platform that allows a human to wirelessly interact with Lego Mindstorm’s motors and sensors using a tablet touchscreen.

Adam’s early assessment: “It’s pretty slick!”

Lego Mindstorms + Arduino + Raspberry Pi

Maker Faires are special for the Adam and Matthew — for a variety of reasons.

First, the weekend events give the former college roommates and long-distance business partners an excuse to spend time together. Adam lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota and works at an engineering design firm, doing embedded system design; Matthew has been living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pursuing a PhD candidate in EE at Carnegie Mellon University (Update: Matthew just moved back to Minneapolis.)

Adam provides three more reasons:

1. “If prototypes of our new kits can survive a weekend on a table at Maker Faire, they’ll last in a home or workshop.”

2. “Seeing people’s eyes light up as they think of new projects and possibilities helps inspire us to make new things, and it’s always great when people stop to see us and thank us for a kit they put together or show us modifications.”

3. “We enjoy getting a chance to talk face to face with other friends of ours from across the world who also make open source hardware.”

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

DC Denison is the co-editor of The Maker Pro Newsletter, which covers the intersection of makers and business. That means hardware startups, new products, and market trends.

DC manages customer stories at Acquia, the digital experience company.

View more articles by DC Denison
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