This LEGO brick actually comes with a functional OLED screen and touch-sensitive controls

Apparently, you can even play DOOM on it…

If anyone’s ever tinkered with the original LEGO bricks, you know what passes off as a computer. It’s the sloped LEGO brick with a CRT-style display screen printed on it. Using that as the framework, tinkerer James Brown decided to actually make a LEGO brick with a functional display built into it. The idea for the LEGO OLED brick originally came to Brown while he was sourcing tiny displays to make a keyboard with OLED keys that changed based on different scenarios. As soon as the idea to put an OLED display into a LEGO brick came to Brown, he soon pivoted, focusing all his efforts on making it happen. The result is nothing short of fantastic. To save on cost, Brown used a black and white display for this project, although it’s probably a matter of time before miniature color OLEDs make their way into bricks. Sign me up for that future, please.

Designer: James Brown

A look at the original LEGO display brick on the right, and Brown’s OLED brick on the left being put in action.

The way Brown’s Macgyvered brick works is rather fascinating. The electronics on the inside feature the OLED screen hooked to a cut and contorted Raspberry Pi Pico circuit. Brown then injection molds the brick around the circuit, using it as an insert. It took a couple of iterations to get to where the brick was perfect, with just the right amount of translucency so that the display shines through perfectly.

Brown even managed to put two capacitive touch points on the top stubs, letting you control what the brick displays. For now, the brick doesn’t do much, but it’s definitely a start. Brown even managed to hook it up to a system as an external monitor and run doom off it. The brick, obviously for its size, doesn’t have a built-in battery, and needs to be connected to run. The way Brown’s LEGO OLED brick draws power for now is through a special lower board that has contact points in their stubs (you can see the metal contact points in the image above).

The process is laborious, especially given the fact that the bricks have to be injection molded to meet these qualitative standards (3D printing just doesn’t cut it). Brown’s working on better tooling, but hasn’t indicated any plans to sell these. He’d obviously need to consult his lawyers too…