Lux Blox STEM and STEAM Build Anything Toy
Written by Emil Buss
In the twisted, often bizarre world of toy making, there's a tale that stands out like a peacock in a pen of pigeons. This is the story of Lux Blox, born from the mind of a bohemian artist, Mike Acerra, who had the audacity to wrestle with angels in the forests of Maine. The outcome? A theory and a toy that would turn the construction block world on its psychedelic head.
Mike's DNA was practically made of sawdust and blueprints. Coming from a lineage of master carpenters, with his father and grandfather (an Italian immigrant) both being masters of the trade, literally every house on his block in Hillside, Illinois, was a testament to his family's craftsmanship. He spent his childhood on construction sites, and this experience pulsed through his veins.
Let’s rewind to 1989. Mike, armed with a carpentry and engineering background, ditched the conventional path and planted his stakes in a cupcake-shaped wooden yurt in the Maine woods. His plan? There wasn't one, really, except to immerse himself in nature and ponder on questions that would make a square-jawed aerospace engineer sweat in his boots. Can nature’s building language be deciphered without the crutch of mathematics?
Fresh out of Knox College with an art major, Mike dove headfirst into a Leonardo-esque adventure. He filled dozens of journals with diagrams and drawings from countless dissections of plants and animals. His thoughts meandered through experiments, fantasy architecture, and models of domes made from pine cones plucked from the forest floor. This madcap exploration birthed the Y-theory – a modular system explaining how nature grows everything from a single Y-shaped module. It was unorthodox, it was wild, and it was pure genius.
This strange Y Science later merged with his pursuit, alongside his wife, Heather, of creating a construction toy unlike any other. They wanted a toy that would let children tap into nature's fundamental building principles. Enter Lux Blox - a construction toy that snapped together, complete with a revolute joint or hinge, allowing movement that echoed the structures and forms found in nature. It wasn’t just a toy; it was a key to the geometric diversity found in nature, both at the molecular and biological levels.
Lux Blox was a departure from the brick paradigm of toys like LEGO. It embraced the kinematic universe – a world of hinged bonds, prisms, and anti-prisms (think helixes). This was what Lux Blox could create. It allowed children to snap together not just blocks, but Platonic and Archimedean structures that mirrored the basic level of biological design. With Lux Blox, kids were not just playing; they were modeling forms studied in the ivory towers of academia, like MIT.
The story of Lux Blox is more than just the creation of a toy. It’s a tale of wild imagination, of a man who dared to look at nature and ask, "Why not?" It’s about breaking the mold, literally and figuratively, and in the process, creating something that not only entertains but educates and inspires. Lux Blox is not just a construction block; it's a manifesto in plastic form, screaming that the universe's building code is far more bizarre and wonderful than we ever imagined. It's a toy for the thinkers, the dreamers, the future architects of the impossible. And it all started in a wooden yurt in Maine, with a man who dared to ask, "What if?"