LEGO announces new ARKit based AR Studio app, blends virtual and physical LEGO fun

LEGO has unveiled its latest app, AR Studio, which uses Apple’s ARKit to bring together a digital and physical LEGO experience.

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LEGO AR Studio comes from the Creative Play Lab at LEGO and is intended to be an addition to physical LEGO sets instead of a replacement.

Wired heard more details from Tom Donaldson, VP of the Creative Play Lab.

“We really see LEGO as a creative tool, but there’s always been these extra layers to help the kids imagine,” he says, pointing to television shows, films and games. “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.”

LEGO AR Studio features a range of available kits initially, including: police station, fire station, train set, and also a variety of the Ninjago models.

“They are very close to the real set and are intended to help you explore how you’d play with the real set if you did go out and buy it,” Donaldson says. Parents, be warned.

Donaldson also made sure to explain that the app isn’t just using an overlay, but is a 3D model that is aware of the real-life scene that users have placed it in.

To get all of the functionality of the new ARKit based app, you’ll need an iPhone or iPad with an A9 processor or later. However, it looks like FamilyGamerTV on YouTube was able to test out the app early on what looks something other than an iPhone (or a maybe modified 5c).

LEGO AR Studio is a free download from the App Store.

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Avatar for Michael Potuck Michael Potuck

Michael is an editor for 9to5Mac. Since joining in 2016 he has written more than 3,000 articles including breaking news, reviews, and detailed comparisons and tutorials.