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Lego Boost is going to turn all your Lego toys into programmable robots

Cat robots, super car robots and more: Lego's new kit debuting at CES combines coding and robot-building, and it uses old bricks.

Scott Stein Editor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
Expertise VR and AR | Gaming | Metaverse technologies | Wearable tech | Tablets Credentials
  • Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
Scott Stein
2 min read

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.

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Lego

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.

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This is Frankie the Cat. He is one of five robots included in the Lego Boost starter kit.

Patrick Holland/CNET

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.

Make actual robots with Lego Boost

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