LEGO's AR-Studio app lets you combine real and virtual LEGO sets

LEGO, the company behind the dream toy for lovers of creativity (and haters of bare feet) everywhere, will unveil its first ARKit app today. Called AR-Studio, the app will let kids and kids at heart bring popular LEGO sets to life — complete with fire-breathing LEGO dragons — and then record mini-movies of their favorite animations. Best of all, it's not meant to replace the awesome LEGO sets you already own. Instead, the app will combine with your physical LEGO creations to add another layer to your play.

Tom Donaldson, VP of the Creative Play Lab at the LEGO Group, explained the company's intentions for the app in a chat with Wired:

"We really see LEGO as a creative tool, but there's always been these extra layers to help the kids imagine. Around the physical creative play we've always put 'play starters' or ways to help the kids imagine and enjoy the play more deeply. This virtual layer can help the kids do the same thing."

In addition to enhancing real life fun, individuals can also use the app to test out sets they may be looking to purchase. The virtual sets to be featured in AR-Studio at first launch match up with actual physical sets you can buy, including the train set, the fire station set, the police station set, and various Ninjago sets. While trying before you buy seems smart, it'll definitely be difficult to convince kiddos that they don't want all the actual sets once they play with them virtually. Don't say we didn't warn you, parents and guardians.

Though AR-Studio can currently only sense tabletops, floors, and other flat surfaces, Donaldson did also say that in the future LEGO would like to further incorporate the physical blocks, making it so the app learns to recognize the sets being played with and further blurring the line between AR and regular old R:

We would love to be doing that, and it's certainly something we're actively exploring.

As of right now the app is yet to be released, but once it is we'll link it here so you can find it on the App Store. It will be free to download, so you won't have to worry about paying to play and can just focus on creating (and presumably dragon-ing).


Are you excited to try LEGO's AR-Studio? Give us a shout in the comments!

Tory Foulk

Tory Foulk is a writer at Mobile Nations. She lives at the intersection of technology and sorcery and enjoys radio, bees, and houses in small towns. When she isn't working on articles, you'll likely find her listening to her favorite podcasts in a carefully curated blanket nest. You can follow her on Twitter at @tsfoulk.