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10K CLUB INTERVIEW: OPEN MRI BY Apollo Exconde

Congratulations to Apollo Exconde who is a new member of the 10K club! This success was achieved with his project called Open MRI a toy that aims to give hope to help everyone i.e kids, who are curious & anxious. As an MRI radiographer, he wanted to show at the earliest possible stage what will happen during MRI to eliminate misconceptions or worries. 

Please do help us congratulate him in the comments down below!

ABOUT YOURSELF

  1. Who are you?
    My name is Apollo Exconde which I also use as my LEGO Ideas username.



     
  2. Where are you from?
    I live in London, England now but I am originally from The Philippines.
     
  3. How old are you?
    Don’t you mean how young am I? I am on the tricenary scale.
     
  4. What do you do for a living?
    I work in the healthcare sector and my current role or job title is MRI Lead Radiographer.

    MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Here in the UK, we are called MRI radiographers, whilst in some countries, we are referred to as MRI technologists.
     
  5. What hobbies do you have?
    Aside from sorting and staring at LEGO bricks/sets, I love running and walking. I play golf on a driving range whenever I have time. I have a collection of different currencies from different countries I have been to and diecast model airplanes I have flown with – OK, I think obviously you know from here that I am into travelling too. At the end of the day, before I sleep, I listen to or watch documentaries about space, history, and medicine.
     
  6. Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
    I have my social media accounts that you can add and follow:
    https://www.facebook.com/apolloexconde/
    https://twitter.com/apolloexconde
    https://www.instagram.com/apolloexconde/
     
  7. Have you created any LEGO MOCs (my own creations) that you’re particularly proud of? What is it, why are you proud it and do you have a photo of it?
    I do! back in 1997, I made a two-level spaceship and a robot. I knew that I did not dismantle this and I kept it inside my two red buckets of LEGO bricks. I quickly sent messages to my aunties Apple Exconde-Dwiggins and Dr. Peachy Exconde-Brillo who are in the Philippines to search for those. Unfortunately, we cannot find the other half of the ship because the other bucket was left in my other home. I am particularly proud of it because after 20+ years the other half is still intact and at that time I was pretty amazed because it has got detachable rooms that can act as separate ships.



     
  8. How and when did your interest for LEGO come about?
    I was like 7 or 8 years young when we were in a shopping center back in The Philippines, as I point to my late Mama (Lily Guia-Exconde) the first box of LEGO system I fell in love with - 6125 Aquazone l Aquanauts.
     
  9. What is LEGO for you? What does it mean for you? How does it fit in your life? E.g. build, display, meetups, play the games.. or 'just' watch the cartoons.
    Personally, LEGO is a toy that sparks joy and hope to help everyone who is curious i.e. kids that can hone and develop their skills, turning imagination into reality. I have this little shelf where I live now and it is where I place some of my LEGO and I smile whenever I pass by as it reminds me of the fun times of my childhood. It also served as a tool to support my patients when I explain to them about the scanner they will be using.
     
  10. What is your favourite LEGO theme (current or past)? Why? And has any theme inspired your building style or preference in any particular way?
    Well because my name is both historic and connected to the universe, these were the same themes that inspired me to build when I was young. In addition to the spaceships, I recall building little castles with hidden or trap doors too.
     
  11. What is your favourite official LEGO set ever? Why?
    I have none particular because every set becomes my favourite. However, I have a few sets, in no particular order, I wish I could have like Winter and Architecture sets, Disney Castle, Voltron, Treehouse, Ninja Castle 6093, Millenium Falcon, and the entire Aquazone set.
     
  12. What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
    LEGO 4x4 Brick Magnets Classic 853915. I was honestly attracted to it because I was able to incorporate it into my LEGO Ideas project that made it functional and realistic.
     
  13. Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
    len_d69, bulldoozer, Bricky_brick, GabKremo – The attention to details and story behind each creation is just phenomenal and unique!
     
  14. Is there one or more particular LEGO related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
    All that is about LEGO! And if I am not yet a member of those groups let me know so I can apply or be added.

 

ABOUT YOUR PROJECT

  1. Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
    Seeing how patients like kids and adults are claustrophobic and scanxious (scan anxious) every time they struggle whilst saying “Apollo, bring me out!”, “take me out” or “I cannot go in there” makes me feel sad – very sad, leaving me disturbed even after work. I then started asking myself “what can I do to help them? If I could create, add, or change something that might help them to allay their worries and fear” It was from my patients who inspired me to build my project and the idea grew from its basic form based on their comments.
     
  2. How long was the process of making the project did, and what did you have to research as well. What kind of prep, research and design phases did you go through to produce your creation?
    I do not want it to look complicated so everyone can easily build it on the spot. The design is basic and very simple, however, MRI itself is a complex combination of science and technology. As I am in the industry for a while now, I was able to combine every modality I have encountered and every brick used on this was based on my patient’s suggestions, an idea that is for them and by them.
     
  3. What special challenges or frustrations did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
    The overwhelming demands from patients, local and international, that if I can provide them this LEGO idea as a matter of urgency. I also found out that it is not only MRI that makes patients worry but other imaging modalities and I was asked numerous times if I can create them as well, hence the 4 in 1 idea was born. I found the magnet a bit challenging because it needed to fit perfectly and attract metallic bits to prove my point that it is truly magnetic. Some pressing suggestions were motorizing the sliding table, having a sound brick and an integrated app on a phone were also thought-provoking. 







     
  4. If you could talk to yourself before you started on this project, what would you tell him/her? What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
    Your desire to allay your patient’s fears the fun way with LEGO is the best way to get through anything. When someone brings hope to another person it’s a gift and if you build with your heart, your creation, be it plain or grand will be appreciated.
     
  5. How long did it take to complete the model? Did you finish it fairly quickly, or did it take a long time? And how did the build time compare to the time you spent promoting your Product Idea to reach 10,000 supporters?
    The build though looks easy was really difficult at first because I have limited LEGO bricks. It is fairly quick to build, the promotion side was steady and slow as it climbed to 10K thanks to my everyday patients, colleagues, various radiology and newsgroups who featured it around the world, friends, and family.
     
  6. How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
    Words are not enough to give justice to what I have felt on that glorious occasion, good thing I had it video recorded.



     
  7. Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
    Less than 250 pieces.
     
  8. What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
    Apart from the magnet brick are the interchangeable coils made from two to three LEGO elements. If you are familiar with MRI, the coils act as the camera to capture the body part being imaged. I was absolutely delighted when the body parts of the minifig fit snugly to the coil.
     
  9. If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
    LDD – LEGO Digital Designer at first, then I started gathering the bricks to have it put into action for my patients.

     

ABOUT LEGO IDEAS

  1. Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas Product Idea?
    Believe in your idea, listen to your audience. Although the design is a huge factor, your intention is everything. When you build with your heart with the aim of helping others every brick will fall in the right place.
     
  2. What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
    I never used any paid advertisement but I had it displayed at work. I was invited to several conferences and conventions as a guest speaker, live and online. Family and friends were kind enough to share it with everyone like social media that it was noticed by TVs, radios, magazines, and newspapers literally on an international level, translated into different languages.
     
  3. What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
    Every idea submitted is good on its own with stories and purposes to share. I believe the works of GabKremo are amazing too!
     
  4. What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea? 
    LEGO is a global brand known everywhere by everyone. If my idea will come to life, LEGO will be able to improve my idea and have it available universally that will help those who are curious and anxious about their scans. To you who have plans of submitting, make sure you read the guidelines, ask around and go and submit! By all means, let me know so I can support you 😊
     
  5. Do you have plans to submit any other Product Ideas in the future? If yes, can you give us a hint what that might be?
    Absolutely yes! Something similar and familiar but unique, a collaboration maybe. Something my late Papa, Dr. Apolinario Exconde will be proud of…
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