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Programmable Batmobile Headlines New Lego Tech Line

It is, as Lego Batman might say, off the chain. Due out in August, Lego's App-Controlled Batmobile lets you build the caped crusader's vehicle then control it from your iOS or Android device. Due out in August for $99, the Batmobile is part of Lego's new "Powered Up" platform of electronic toys.

We had a chance to see the Batmobile in action and were enticed by its design, which looks a lot like a black tank. It comes with a silver Batman minifig and has four missiles that you can shoot, but only if you press down the triggers by hand.

The app we saw in our demo was still in very rough form. A Lego rep was able to steer the car and make it do a few stunts, including a wheelie, but he said that the final version of the software will let you customize the look and feel of the controls.

A future update to the app that will come later in the year will allow you to write programs for the car. We got a brief glimpse at the programming mode and it uses the same, dead-simple block-based language as Lego Boost. The blocks are arranged horizontally and have no text at all so even preliterate children will be able to use the car as a learning tool. The company advises that the toy is for ages eight and up, but we've seen children as young as five master Lego Boost.

At its press event, the block-maker also showed off a couple of other new products that it also labels as "Powered Up." The Lego City Passenger Train and Lego City Cargo Train sets create motorized, moving trains that you can drive with a bundled remote control unit. However, these sets are not programmable like the Batmobile. The upcoming Lego Duplo Steam Train, which the company first showed at Toy Fair, will use an app to teach very young children elementary programming concepts.

If you own a Lego Boost set, our sister site Tom's Guide's favorite robot set, you'll be able to use its motorized components it to enhance several upcoming products. Lego Ninjago Stormbringer is a dragon that you can program when paired with Boost, and Lego City Arctic Scout Truck is a vehicle you can control when it's paired with Boost components. Lego Creator Expert Rollercoaster is a working ride for your minifigures that gets more functionality when you add your Boost motors.

Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch is Tom's Hardware's editor-in-chief. When he's not playing with the latest gadgets at work or putting on VR helmets at trade shows, you'll find him rooting his phone, taking apart his PC or coding plugins. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram developed many real-world benchmarks, including our laptop battery test.