CES is full of robots, but Lego robots... well, that doesn't happen every year.
Educational codable robot toys have been a mega-trend in kid tech over the last year, from Jimu to Cozmo. Lego has had its own Mindstorm educational robotics kit for years, but its pieces come from the older-skewed Technics sets, as opposed to the piles of multicolored bricks everyone's basements are full of.
Lego Boost is the idea that Lego was overdue to debut. It's a set of motors and programmable bricks that can work with existing Lego kits and turn them into motorized or motion-sensitive toys. And the app can record voice effects... so, yes, you can make your robot Lego-cat speak.
The $160 set, coming in the second half of 2017, comes with instructions to build five different things out of the box: "Vernie the Robot, Frankie the Cat, the Guitar 4000, the Multi-Tool Rover 4 (M.T.R.4), and the Autobuilder." After that, any existing Legos can be glommed onto new creations, according to Lego: "a walking base for making animals like a dragon or a pony, a driving base for building vehicles like a dune buggy or rover, and an entrance base so that children can make their own castle, fort, or even a futuristic space station." The kit is targeted at kids 7 and older.
A companion Android and iOS app will handle the programming parts, using what Lego claims are basic coding instructions. Similar ideas live in most toy robot kits made over the last couple of years. Lego's advantage is, clearly, that you could potentially make a dancing dinosaur, a DIY Batmobile or a robotic Star Wars base. Or something of the sort.
The Lego Boost comes with three Boost bricks that do most of the robotic heavy lifting, including a tilt sensor, a color and distance sensor and a motor. The set also comes with 843 pieces and a special playmate that the robots can move on.
Stay tuned for hands-on impressions at CES, but this sounds like the Lego holiday gift to beat all Lego gifts.