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Toys and Tabletop Games

Lego Powered Up line of programmable toys builds on Boost

Robotic Ninjago dragons, RC Batmobiles and even Duplo, coming this year.

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Lego's new kits combine with last year's Lego Boost for robotic extras.

Screenshot by Scott Stein/CNET

My kids are obsessed with Lego. But they might be obsessed with Lego programming pretty soon.

Lego's had Mindstorms robots for years, but dipped into the more accessible Lego Boost last summer, using regular Lego bricks with programmable robotic elements. The little kit was a blast, and in many ways presaged what Nintendo launched this year with its Labo kits.

Expect a lot more programmable Lego kits on shelves later this year, through a new "Powered Up" line of smart toys starting this summer.

The various kits announced today all seem to all do different things under the umbrella of "connected play" across Lego Batman, Lego City, Ninjago, and Duplo kits (the Duplo is targeted at kids "as young as 2").

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A look at the Batmobile.

Lego
  • A Lego Batman App-Controlled Batmobile, coming August 1 for $100 (roughly converting to £75 and AU$130), is a customizable RC car that pairs with phones or tablets, much like Sphero's robots.
  • A Lego City Passenger Train and Lego City Cargo Train add "remote control functionality to classic Lego building," according to Lego's news release.
  • Two Duplo sets, also a Steam Train and Cargo Train, promise earlier-age things to do with lower-tech elements, perhaps as an onboarding to understanding coding ideas and "cause and effect play."
  • Meanwhile, some kits will actually hook into last year's Lego Boost to do extra smart things: a new Ninjago Stormbringer dragon and Lego City Arctic Scout Truck.

The connected Powered Up app, when it launches July 1, will work with Android 5.0 and iOS 8.0 phones and tablets.

Update May 22, 3:20 p.m. PT: An earlier version of this story reported that the Batmobile set was $160. Lego reported that this was an error from their previous announcement, and the price has been corrected to $100.

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