Is there anything more demoralizing than working up the courage to pop the question only to have your significant other reject your marriage offer? Maybe you were just lacking the right hardware? If you’re proposing to someone who prefers the finer electronic things in life, this Doom playing ring all but ensures you’ll get a resounding, “yes!”
For the past eight months, James Brown, a graphics engineer at Weta Workshop, has been blowing the minds of Lego fans—particularly those fond of Lego’s classic space line—by upgrading tiny Lego “computers” with screens that actually work, so they can display everything from wireframe targeting animations to scrolling gibberish text.
The complexity and capabilities of Brown’s tiny Lego computers has rapidly evolved, and they now have built-in USB-C ports for easy connectivity. Some even have touch controls, allowing the pair of studs situated atop the pieces to be used as control buttons. Brown now even casts his own resin Lego bricks, allowing them to create custom colors and textures over the tiny monochromatic OLED screens inside.
Truly, the ultimate goal of any hardware hack is getting it to play Doom, which Brown successfully demonstrated on one of his bricks a few months ago. It’s not the prettiest version of Doom you’ve ever seen, but it’s by far the most impressive you’ve ever seen running on a single Lego piece.
For now, the functional Lego computers need to draw power from a USB connection or a long discontinued Lego power brick with a nine-volt battery inside, but in an effort to make them completely self-contained, Brown has been sourcing small batteries. To test them out, he’s now decided to convert the electronics inside the bricks into a wearable self-contained ring running the RP2040 version of Doom, with custom code optimizing it for a grayscale display.
The resulting fashion accessory is very fragile, and you can’t actually control the action on screen while wearing it. Brown is contemplating building a new version with flexible materials so the ring is more durable, but if he finds a way to incorporate motion controls too, he just might give Tiffany & Co. a run for their money.