Using a smartphone or tablet to expand the experience of a real-world scenario isn’t new, but there is no denying Apple’s new augmented reality (AR) effort, built upon by ARKit, is certainly broadening the results.
Today, as detailed by WIRED, LEGO is officially unveiling its brand new AR-Studio app, which will use ARKit to help kids, and families, put together real world blocks and expand upon them with augmented reality. The new AR-Studio app will launch today in the iOS App Store (it is not available at the time of publication, but that should change soon), and it’s specifically designed to let LEGO builders create even more dynamic worlds beyond the physical blocks they have in front of them.
“This app is a completely new play from LEGO, mixing the physical and digital,” says Tom Donaldson, VP of the Creative Play Lab at the LEGO Group. “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.”
The AR-Studio app will have different sets to build upon, including the Ninjago characters, a train station, a fire station, and a police station. You will even be able to control the digital characters in the play sets.
Parents should be aware that this new effort to bridge the digital and real world LEGO experience is still modeled after real products. So after a kid, or kids, play with the augmented reality version of the LEGO police station, or the Ninjago characters, they might see them in the store and want to buy the physical versions of those sets.
Still, the LEGO AR-Studio seems like a fun way to build upon the experience. We will update this post when the AR-Studio app becomes available in the App Store.