Lego is so ubiquitous, it’s almost a verb, like Google. Almost. But a Kiwi-created product might just reach noun-as-verb status – at least if the engineer behind it has anything to say.
World, meet Flexo.
Created by Mark Stolten, Flexo consists of construction bricks and flexible tendons. Compatible with similar buildings bricks like Lego, the Flexo tendons have a full range of movement from flat to 180 degrees and four different lengths, offering very flexible to near-rigid movements. What this essentially means is brick construction sets can now be flexible, enabling the creation of suspension bridges, hinges, suspension on cars, a bow and arrow, balls, swing bridges, train tracks, catapults, and anything else the imagination can conjure.
Stolten credits the development of Flexo to the “incredible team” he’s had around him, including his son James. While developing the blocks, he also completed a Trade Certificate, NZCE Mechanical, a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering, Masters in Electrical and Electronic Engineering and a Masters in Business Administration. Oh, and he also did all that while dealing with the extra workload brought about by having dyslexia. “There were definitely times when it was a struggle,” he says. “But it was worth the extra effort and now I see my dyslexia as a gift and understand how it can be applied to business creativity and other innovation. I really hope to be able to inspire other dyslexics with Flexo so they realise that dyslexia doesn’t have to limit their opportunities in life. My wife and I really want to help educate people and allow them to understand the incredible gift it can be.
Stolten and his wife, Elizabeth, have a huge passion for helping the poor and underprivileged and are also extremely passionate about family and youth. To that end, they’ve created Genesis Family Today, a company to create wealth through creative design and family fun play, and would donate profits to organisations supporting these causes.
To help Flexo build a foundation (no pun intended), Stolten has launched a Kickstarter campaign. So far, nearly $20,000 has been raised from about 240 backers. The goal is to get to $120,000 by October 3.
Those sound like some pretty clear blueprints to build success.