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

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

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

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

“We really think of LEGO as a creative tool, but there has always been those extra layers to help kids imagine,” he says of TV shows, movies, and games. “Around physical creative play we have always put ‘play beginnings’ or ways to help children imagine and enjoy play more deeply. This virtual diaper can help kids do the same.

LEGO AR Studio initially has a range of kits available, including: Police Station, Fire Station, Train, and a variety of Ninjago models.

“They’re very close to the actual set and are meant to help you explore how you would play with the real set if you bought it,” says Donaldson. Parents, be warned.

Donaldson also made sure to explain that the app doesn’t just use an overlay, but it’s a 3D model that’s aware of the actual scene users have placed it in.

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

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

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