LEGO Fusion – Brick Building Reality Goes Virtual

As video games have increased in popularity, I hear many people lament that children don’t participate in constructive, creative play anymore. I hate that mentality, since I see many children (and adults for that matter) harness the power of technology to fuel their creativity and passions. Still, I see their point, and I am hoping that the future decade provides new ideas for merging tech with artistic expression and playtime.

LEGO Fusion is a new LEGO product that has a lot of promise for the merging of real and virtual realities in playtime. These new sets link up with an app that works on an iPad or Android tablet. You build one of the 200 piece sets (however you so choose) and then capture it on a “capture plate” that is included with the set. The app digitizes the creation, making it a 3D object in a virtual universe – and you can then proceed to play within this new environment like you would any LEGO brand video game.

It’s even better, because you can then destroy the physical build, make another construction, and scan it into your world. You  can build an infinitely large world, one real world creation at a time. There are currently four known sets, Town Master, Battle Towers, Resort Designer and Create and Race. Admittedly, if they make a Medieval themed set, I will have to buy it.

If this idea really catches fire, I could see kids clamoring for new sets with special powers, bricks and other unlockables. I can only imagine how addictive the collection component could be, similar to the popularity behind Skylanders.

This is a fantastic example of an innovative way to integrate technology into playtime, without becoming a complete zone-out fest. I really hope this idea is as popular with kids as it has been on the tech blogs this last week. The sets are due to release in August, for $35 each (Resort Designer is out in September).

– E.B.

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