Lego has launched a range of new robotics coding kits that are aiming to inspire would-be creators to dabble with more than just building static spaceships and houses.
Revealed at CES in Las Vegas, the new range of robots and programmable toys called Lego Boost, will be aimed at children as young as 7 years-old, and give them a much more approachable solution over the company’s Mindstorm offering.
Like many of the other "kids coding" products available on the market, children will be able to make their creations move, talk and interact with their environment, but without things getting overly complicated, however the big difference here is that it works with regular Lego.
The robotic creations will be powered by a something the company dubs the "move hub". It works by attaching motors and various tilt and colour sensors to your creation that then allow the smart toys to come to life.
Lego Boost toys are then capable of performing a range of actions coded into them via the Wi-Fi connected app available for free on Android and Apple devices.
The app teaches children to build simple lines of code by dragging, dropping and stacking digital blocks to create actions and routines for the robots. Whether simple movements or more complex routines, Lego are promising more than 60 different activities built into the app.
One of the models will be Vernie the robot, a toy reminiscent of Johnny Five from the 1986 classic Short Circuit. Demos of the set show that the creation will be capable of pretending to be a cowboy, firing a toy guy, playing a harmonica and squeezing out the occasional cheeky fart.
Available in five different versions, Lego Boost also includes Frankie the cat, a space rover (M.T.R.4), the Guitar 4000 and Autobuilder (a sort of Lego 3D printer).
With a range of voice recordings, programmable actions and user-generated additions (such as recordings of the child’s own voice) there looks to be plenty of capabilities packed into these little bots.
At launch, there will also be three bases available - a walking base, driving base and entrance base so kids will be able to build animals like dragons, cats or ponies, vehicles like the rover or a dune buggy and of course, the classic buildings like castles and space stations.
The Lego Boost kits will be available to purchase in the second half of 2017 and will be priced at around $159.99 (£130) - batteries not included.