ARTICLE . Fredric Andrew Lang . CrossLink Structures Int’l

HANDS OFF HANDS ON

Building Bright Minds

MB2MB_V03_Issue01_2018_Final_01_FredricLang

GET MB2MB V3 Issue 1  with Fredric’s article.

Fred’s childhood was more about building than reading but somewhere along the way he learned enough to get a full scholarship to the University of Southern California, Los Angeles where he studied theater technical direction, specializing in scenic and lighting design.

After LA he moved to Minnesota’s St. Olaf College where teaching, designing and consulting in theater arts spurred his inventiveness. During this time Fred patented a portable theater that could move between district schools.

He continued to travel and build—American Indian teepees in Japan, theater sets in Germany and clinics in Honduras. Thus began his lifelong journey of innovation that led to his career—developing large scale modular exhibit construction systems.

Founding his first company, Interlock Structures Int’l., Lange patented modular construction systems that were sold to national exhibit designers who used them to create unique corporate flagship exhibits at tradeshows.

And now, Fred’s founding a company for the future.

He felt kids needed a versatile building system too. An easy to use design and building tool, where hand and mind could inspire their natural creativity. So he developed Toad Square Cubes for kids, beginning product research and development in 2015.

“Kids need tools to develop creative self-awareness and discovery, where they can take ownership of their own ideas, their natural ability to innovate.” maintains Lang.

He thinks a child’s imagination is not meant to be formed from brands inside a box, but to be set free.

That approval by elders is not needed for kids’ creative activity, the interaction between hand and mind.

He believes, for kids to become who they are meant to be, they need tools to explore, invent, test and discover their own ideas. Necessary tools that provide a subject, canvas and palette of colors framed with an idea.

In this way Toad Square Kids can do their own thing without lines and numbers to follow. 

At 73 he works at Menards for good exercise and enough seed money to have prototypes developed, CAD injection mold designs made, and patents filed.

He’s also working on literature and a website. In addition he’s creating a two-minute video for a Kickstarter campaign, and a large focus group with parents, educators

and kids. Capital for a national product launch is in the planning as well as people to help launch this venture.

His inspiration? 

Kids ability to form their own ideas at a very early age without much help or interference.

He feels the best part of being a microbusiness is the struggle to grow personally while making a significant contribution to others’ creative growth. 

His wish for the generation that came before? That education would have been more open to the individual needs of children rather than focused on making kids suitable for an assembly line.

That schools and corporations would have incentivized and rewarded creative thought and outcomes.

That once filled with passion, greed not take it away or destroy the creative process in kids or adults by ownership control or best ROI.

Fred defines microbusiness as an enterprise begun, a start-up, without a complete picture of where it might end up. Others will determine that, hopefully the market and not outside interferences.

Many changes will occur, each a new venture, if to be successful.

Like most, Lang has a work at home lifestyle.

His biggest frustration?

Not having coworkers to discuss concepts and brainstorm ideas while they’re fresh when working in his home office.

  • What’s his favorite song? Sakura, a Japanese song.
  • What’s one word that describes him? Inspired.
  • What does he wish he would have tried? Going down the rabbit hole with Alice.
  • Who would he like to meet in an elevator?

Markus Alexej Persson (born 1 June 1979), also known as Notch, is a Swedish video game programmer and designer who founded the video game company Mojang in late 2010 launching Minecraft.

Ole Kirk Christiansen the founder of the Danish construction toy company the LEGO Group. He was the 10th son of an impoverished family in Jutland in western Denmark. 

Richard Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller was an American architect, systems theorist, author, designer, and inventor. Fuller published more than 30 books, coining or popularizing terms such as “Spaceship Earth”, etherealization, and synergetic. 

Nikola Tesla who was a Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, physicist, and futurist who is best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current electricity supply system. Wikipedia

  • Fred’s favorite quote? Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art. Leonardo Da Vinci.
  • Asked if he’s an introvert, extrovert or ambivert, he replies with a laugh, Try to define me. Ha-ha! I am a multi-dimensional conceptionalist.”
  • He was a middle child between an older brother and younger sister, a few years apart. And a younger brother of a different generation.

CrossLink Structures demonstrated patented prototypes of Toad Square Cubes™ at the June 2017 Minneapolis/St. Paul Mini Maker Faire using it as a large focus group prior to a Fall Kickstarter campaign.

Toad Square Cubes simulate popular computer games while connecting to well-known toy building blocks. This convergence, virtual and real, connect cubes three-dimensionally. A creative tool for kids to design and explore engineering on the table-top.

Inspired to create, Toad Square Kids™ discover architecture, machines and art. Hand and mind work together. Imagination takes form. Kids invent, design and engineer building their own artistic and mechanical ideas. No instructions needed! Toad Square Kids produce “STEAMing ideas™.”

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