Whether you are a building-block game lover, a creative maker or even an expert, feel the power of distributed programming

Modular and Interactive

The Blinky Blocks system is a modular distributed execution environment composed of centimeter-size blocks that are attached to each other using magnets. Each block, roughly a 40mm cube, has sufficient processing, communication (serial link with up to 6 neighbors), and storage capabilities to implement a wide variety of distributed tasks.

Overview

Each module has its own computational power, as well as sensors and actuators such as RGB leds, that can glow in different colors according to the programmer’s will. Blocks can detect their current orientation and impulses such as shaking or tapping. They are also able to play and capture sounds.

All the blocks of a system run the same program. They are attached to each other using magnets. A block can have up to 6 neighbors with which he can communicate through serial links on the block faces (neighbor-to-neighbor communication model). Only one block needs to be connected to a power supply to a power the whole ensemble. Power is distributed through the system using dedicated pins.

Ensembles of Blinky Blocks are manually reconfigurable at will: users can plug and unplug units during runtime to enable changes in behavior based on new physical groupings.

Hardware

Micro-controller

ARM Cortex M0 32-bit

Sensors

Sound detection (microphone)
Orientation detection (gyroscope)

Actuators

18 permanent rare-earth magnets

Communication

6 USART with 6 Mbps speed

Power Transfer

Dedicated block with power input
12 V @ 5A external power supply
6 x 12 VDC connecting pins

Visual & Audio

2 RGB LEDs
1 Speaker (3 W)

take control over the air

Hands on software

Engineers and researchers at Programmable Matter have developed Angela ™, a custom firmware distributed among each module, alongside a welcome pack of applications allowing the user to quickly interact with its own assembly of Blinky Blocks.

Regular user

You can easily interact with your blocks without writing a single line of code thanks to our user friendly Blinky Graphical User Interface ™ cross platform application compatible Bluetooth 5.1 available for download below.

Advanced user

Angela is library developed using the C programming language. It allows you to easily code your own application, then upload and run it on your Blinky Blocks with the Blinky App.

windowslinuxDocumentation

RGB led feedback

Color change is the primary mode of feedback to the user. Each block has several powerful RGB LEDs so that it can glow with any color and brightness level and be visible in normal office lighting conditions.

Packed with sensors

The blocks can detect their current orientation, as well as changes in orientation and sudden impulses such as shaking or tapping.

Speaker, microphone, storage

They are also able to play sounds through their speaker, from simple beeps to complex waveforms streamed off their internal storage. Capturing sound is possible with the onboard microphone.