LEGOTECHNO - A tangible user-interface to make music with LEGO® bricks

Physical Construction Toys for Rapid Sketching of Tangible User Interfaces

A tangible interface and instrument to perform music and control sound effects with standard LEGO® bricks. Users can build their own custom user-interfaces for live performances.

The position, color, orientation and shape of the markerless, unmodified LEGO® bricks are tracked using a camera that is mounted underneath a transparent LEGO® baseplate. Users can build their own interactive interface controls, such as tangible grids for the arrangement of drum-patterns or musical scores, and also create different types of continuous controllers for real-time parameter adjustments, such as sliders, knobs and x/y pads.

Physical construction toys such as LEGO® or similar brick-based systems can provide a rich space for tangible interactions. In this work we explore their potential as a readily available prototyping platform for customizable Tangible User Interfaces. Our system enables interaction designers and users to create functional control layouts, tangible experience prototypes, interface elements, and grid based interactions from standard LEGO® bricks.

UPDATE - Added video of version 2.0: LEGOTECHNO Sliding Puzzle Sequencer @ Sónar

UPDATE - Take a look at the follow-up project: iGO囲碁MASCHINE

Showcases and live performances:
MIDI HACK @ Spotify Headquarters, Stockholm / May 2014
Sónar Festival, Barcelona / June 2014
TEI-Conference, Stanford University / January 2015

UPDATE - Project featured on
A Giant LEGO Construction Makes Music with Maschine, Made by NI’s Devs
LegoTechno: Sliding Lego Blocks Make Music with littleBits, Maschine, Arduino



  • Image analysis, software development, UX-design, LEGO® construction The project was initiated at the MIDI HACK 2014 at the Spotify Headquarters, Stockholm in close collaboration with Bram de Jong and Michael Hlatky of Native Instruments Berlin.
    Presented at the 2015 Conference on Tangible Embedded and Embodied Interaction (TEI) at Stanford University.
    K. Gohlke, M. Hlatky, B. de Jong. 2015. Physical Construction Toys for Rapid Sketching of Tangible User Interfaces. Ninth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction (TEI ’15).