With its new Fusion sets, Lego moves into the digital world while keeping one foot firmly planted in real life.
These boxes come with 200 building blocks which, when used to make structures and other models, can be transferred block-for-block into an app for iPads and Android tablets.
The bricks need to be placed on a special base called a Fusion Capture Plate. These allow you to build 16x16 brick “facades” which will appear in the app after you’ve photographed them with your tablet’s camera. Then, whatever you’ve built can be manipulated in games and other activities.
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For example, in the “Town Master” game, you can drop your facade in a virtual Lego town and have the rest of the house build around it automatically (in a similar colour scheme and building style). In another game, your facade is used to create a castle tower that defends against waves of enemies. Designs will also be shareable via the Lego online community.
The games are certainly aimed at the younger market, and the technology isn’t all that complex at present – you can’t, for instance, build a huge car and have it virtually replicated in the app just by taking photos – but it’s certainly an interesting indication of the way in which Lego’s willing to embrace new tech.
The Fusion sets will go on sale in August price at US$35 (£20).