Lego AR-Studio blends the virtual and the physical for more block-building fun

Every new platform needs some big-name content to gain momentum in the market, whether it’s an operating system needing important apps or a gaming platform needing popular titles. Apple has that content in spades when it comes to iOS, but its augmented reality (AR) platform, ARKit, still needs to pick up some steam if it’s going to be successful in competing with the more established competition. It’s received just that with the addition of Lego AR-Studio to its lineup.

As Wired reports, the new iOS app that’s being released today represents one of the Lego brand’s first forays into AR. As Tom Donaldson, vice president of the Lego Group’s Creative Play Lab, puts it, “This app is a completely new play from Lego, mixing the physical and digital. You hold an iPhone or an iPad in your hand, and you can see your surroundings on the screen — your room, your table, that sort of thing. It can sense surfaces, and you can place virtual Lego models into your real world.”

Lego AR-Studio isn’t a direct replacement for the physical versions of the company’s iconic modular blocks. Rather, it allows kids to layer the AR experience on top of the physical world and play with both virtual and physical elements at the same time. For now, the AR blocks don’t directly recognize their physical versions, but implementing the capability is a goal that Lego is actively working toward.

In addition, as Forbes points out, AR-Studio lets kids add in active Lego characters that interact with whatever virtual Lego elements happen to be in a particular scene, and then utilize scrips that carry out actions in response. This creates an interactive element that makes the entire experience more engaging.

For now, AR-Studio is only available for iOS 11 devices that support ARKit and sport A9 processors and better. That means the iPhone 6S and later, the 2017 iPad, and the iPad Pro. Supported Lego sets include:

  • 60047 — Lego City Police Station
  • 60052 — Lego City Train Set
  • 60110 — Lego City Fire Station
  • 70593 — Lego Ninjago The Green NRG Dragon
  • 70632 — Lego Ninjago Movie — Cole’s Mech
  • 70618 — Lego Ninjago Movie — Destiny’s Bounty

Kids can also share their experiences with videos creating using AR-Studio, making it a social affair. For now, the entire experience comes at no charge, but there’s likely room for Lego to adopt an in-app purchase model.

Computing

Nvidia’s rumored 7nm Ampere graphics could debut next week, but not for gamers

Nvidia's next-generation 7nm Ampere graphics could debut as early as next week at the GTC show as part of an effort to catch up to rival AMD, which announced a competing 7nm Radeon GPU earlier this year.
Home Theater

Throw away those EarPods -- we dug up the best headphones in every style

Trolling the internet for hours to find headphones is no way to live. Instead, leverage our expertise and experience to find the best headphones for you. Here are our favorites, with all the features you want.
Music

Apple Music vs. Spotify: Which service is the streaming king?

Apple Music is giving Spotify a run for its money, but which service is best for you? In our Apple Music vs. Spotify showdown, we compare and contrast all we know about the two streaming music services.
Gaming

Take to the virtual skies with these free flight simulators

You don't have to spend the entirety of your paycheck to become a virtual ace, at least when it comes to flight simulation. Our list of the best free flight simulators will let you unleash your inner Maverick.
Mobile

We tried all the latest and greatest smartphones to find the best of 2019

Smartphones are perhaps the most important and personal piece of tech on the planet. That’s why it’s important to pick the best phone for your individual needs. Here are the best smartphones you can buy.
Computing

Here's how to download a YouTube video to watch offline later

Learning how to download YouTube videos is easier than you might think. There are tools you can use both online and offline. This step-by-step guide will instruct you on how to use them.
Computing

Latest Skype preview now lets you chat with up to 50 people on a video call

The latest beta version of Skype is introducing an ability to enter a video call with up to 50 people, a change from the current public version which has a maximum limit of 25 participants.
Computing

Intel’s next-gen Comet Lake processors will reportedly arrive with 10 cores

Intel may give its next-generation desktop processor, known by its Comet Lake code name, a maximum of 10 cores, according to code found within the company's Linux drivers. Laptop CPUs will reportedly top out with six cores.
Emerging Tech

It’s not time travel, but scientists can turn back clock on a quantum computer

Physicists have demonstrated that they can wind back the clock on a quantum computer a fraction of a second. Don't get too excited about the prospect of human time travel any time soon, though.
Computing

Western Digital’s $55 solid-state drive gives new life to your aging PC

Western Digital is hoping that you'll pick up one of its affordable WD Blue SN500 solid-state drives to give your aging PC more storage and a speed boost. WD's NVMe-based drives are up to three times faster than older SATA SSDs.
Computing

Give your discs some extra life by watching DVDs and Blu-rays on Windows 10

Popped a disc into your Windows machine but feel lost without Media Center? You're not alone. But don't fret, with just a few tips you can learn how to watch DVDs and Blu-rays for free in Windows 10 in no time.
Deals

Walmart slices price on Canon ImageClass MF232W Wi-Fi laser printer

If you don’t need color printing, a monochrome laser printer like the Canon ImageClass MF232W can save you a lot of time and money. This beefy all-in-one Wi-Fi printer is on sale from Walmart for almost half off, letting you score it for…
Computing

Is 14 inches the perfect size for a laptop? These 4 laptops might convince you

If you're looking for the best 14-inch laptops, there are a number of factors to consider. You want good battery life, an attractive screen, solid performance, and a good build. Our favorites that do all that and more.
Gaming

Get Corsair’s best mechanical keyboard at a decent discount

From March 17 to 23, you can get one of the best mechanical keyboards around at a great price. The Corsair K95 RGB Platinum is normally $200, but this week you can pick one up from Amazon for $160.