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About this project

Lego meets Origami, but better 

Troxes are triangular, interlocking building bricks. They were designed at the MIT Media Lab as a medium for geometric play beyond the boxes and right angles that are so common in most building toys. Troxes exercise and deepen spatial thinking, and allow for the construction of objects as beautiful as they are unusual.

 

188 pieces build this cyber-punk futuristic Big Bird
188 pieces build this cyber-punk futuristic Big Bird

 

500 pieces constructed this scavenging beast!
500 pieces constructed this scavenging beast!

 

500 pieces and a stretch of the imagination
500 pieces and a stretch of the imagination

 

 The Trox Family

 Meet the Trox family: Tetra, Octa, and Icosa. Each Trox is built from the same pieces, and the resulting shape depends only on how many pieces are used.

TetraTrox is composed of 4 pieces and is pyramidal.
TetraTrox is composed of 4 pieces and is pyramidal.

 

OctaTrox is composed of 8, sharing its shape with a diamond's crystalline structure.
OctaTrox is composed of 8, sharing its shape with a diamond's crystalline structure.

 

IcosaTrox is built using 20 pieces, starting to look like a sphere, a form commonly found in viruses.
IcosaTrox is built using 20 pieces, starting to look like a sphere, a form commonly found in viruses.

Every member of the Trox family can be combined with every other, by aligning their faces and interlocking them.

TetraTroxes coming together or being torn apart, depending on how you look at it :)
TetraTroxes coming together or being torn apart, depending on how you look at it :)
     

Putting together your first Trox is a puzzle, but after practice, they become quick and easy to build. 

Design for the Ages

Troxes are designed for ages 6 and up. The final forms are elegant enough to keep on your desk, or design a sculptural centerpiece for the table.

  • Young or old, Troxes are fun for kids of all ages
    Young or old, Troxes are fun for kids of all ages

      

    When your little sister knows how to make a Trox faster than you :)
    When your little sister knows how to make a Trox faster than you :)

     

    When siblings bring their Troxes together. Warning: Troxes might result in respectful relationships betweens siblings :)
    When siblings bring their Troxes together. Warning: Troxes might result in respectful relationships betweens siblings :)

     

    Floating on a shelf is a good look for Troxes
    Floating on a shelf is a good look for Troxes

    Colors

    Troxes are made from Plike, a soft-touch paper that almost feels like plastic. The specific paper comes in a small variety of colors, so they are shown here with the colors available. I would love to pick a custom color palette for the Troxes and with high enough volumes, I can put the decision for colors in your hands!  

    50 fresh cut prototypes from the first possible manufacturer's run
    50 fresh cut prototypes from the first possible manufacturer's run

      

    This is how we grow Troxes. First plant a seed, then water :)
    This is how we grow Troxes. First plant a seed, then water :)

     

    Prototype of a 50-pack of Troxes
    Prototype of a 50-pack of Troxes

    Thinking Outside the Box 

    Our toys shape how we think. If rectangular building blocks dominate our play, we reinforce arbitrary limits on spatial thinking. That’s unfortunate, because unlike our toys, the world isn’t governed by right angles, and the ability to think deeply about space is profoundly valuable. Spatial thinking is critical to building any physical object, playing any sport, moving safely through the world, all visual art, and has been known, now and then, to alter human history.

    Watson and Crick used physical models to discover uncover the structure of DNA, which lead to one of the most important discoveries in the history of science: that DNA carries the human blueprint.
    Watson and Crick used physical models to discover uncover the structure of DNA, which lead to one of the most important discoveries in the history of science: that DNA carries the human blueprint.

    As just one example, James Watson and Francis Crick used spatial thinking (and erector-set-like models) to deduce the structure of DNA. It lead to the discovery that DNA carries the human blueprint and gave birth to genetics (source). That’s not the only example of out-of-the-box spatial thinking leading to Earth-shattering insight (for example Einstein is famous for arriving at his theories by thinking in pictures), but I won’t belabor the point. 

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