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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.

  • WildCard999
    This is really neat, I think the last time Lego had any kind of electrical wiring was from the space sets from the 80's. (I could be wrong)
    https://www.toysperiod.com/lego-set-reference/space/futuron/lego-6990-monorail-transport-system/
    I inherited this set from my older cousin and eventually passed it down to my friends kids who love playing with them.
    Reply
  • brandonclone1
    Legos are for rich kids now.
    Reply
  • Ninjawithagun
    20980559 said:
    Legos are for rich kids now.

    Hmmm, really? What do you mean by rich? Funny how there are hundreds of Lego sets available for under $50. If you mean parents that are SJWs and can't get a job because they don't want to work, then yes, buying Lego sets may not be within their financial means ;-)
    Reply
  • bloodroses
    20980559 said:
    Legos are for rich kids now.

    They have quite a few sets, ranging from sets meant for kids, collectors sets, as well as high tech sets.
    The Speed Champions, City, Ninjago, Friends, etc. sets are generally meant for kids and usually range from $20 on up; unless you get the little $5 kits in a bag.
    Mindstorms, which are pricey, are meant for high school to early college. We used a Mindstorms kit in my entry engineering course in College.
    The $300+ kits are collector kits, and are not designed specifically with kids in mind. I have a couple of those kits and have no intention of taking them apart after they're built due to how complex and time consuming they are.

    There are of course exceptions in the lines, like Ninjago City, but it isn't the general. You also won't see a kit like that at a Walmart.

    The brand may say Lego, but they are not just one specific market. It's like any auto company. Most make a compact, a truck, a SUV, and a luxury line. Just because luxury lines can approach $100k, it doesn't mean the compact lines are the same price; or the same market.

    If price is that much of a concern, consider the Chinese knockoff brands. Just don't expect the quality to be the same.
    Reply
  • cryoburner
    20980342 said:
    This is really neat, I think the last time Lego had any kind of electrical wiring was from the space sets from the 80's. (I could be wrong)
    Lego Mindstorms have been around for the last decade or so, which are robotics sets with various sensors, motors and programmable controllers. Sets like this might be targeted more toward a slightly younger audience though...

    https://www.lego.com/en-us/mindstorms
    Reply
  • ledhead11
    Just give me a Lego remote controlled transformer already!
    Reply
  • bit_user
    20980825 said:
    ...
    Really?? What possible good can come of politicizing a thread about Legos?!
    Reply
  • bit_user
    Oh, and what kind of self-respecting tech site reports on something like this without including the tech specs of this kit?

    Before reading the article, I was half expecting it even to have a camera module and some simple computer vision capabilities. Not for $99, though.
    Reply
  • 10tacle
    An absurd comment about "rich kids only." Someone has not been to a store that carries Legos in a while. If you think you are going to walk out with a 7,500 piece three foot long Millennium Falcon kit for $19.99 you are out of your mind. Can't afford that $800? Then go buy Yoda's Jedi Starfighter 262 piece kit for $25.

    As the guy said above, there are many different price ranges of kits available by Lego, so the wealth-challenged can be included as well. Lego is a brand and they are not cheap. You want to go big? You gotta pay up. Can't do that? Too bad. I want a Ferrari but can't afford one and I sure don't whine about it.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    20982118 said:
    If you think you are going to walk out with a 7,500 piece three foot long Millennium Falcon kit for $19.99 you are out of your mind. Can't afford that $800? Then go buy Yoda's Jedi Starfighter 262 piece kit for $25.
    Wow, are those numbers accurate? So, it's still in the neighborhood of $0.10 per piece. If I continue my extrapolation from two data points, then the inflation isn't in the cost per lego, but in the size and complexity of the kits.

    Aren't Legos the ultimate hand-me-down? I got them from my sisters, and then we gave them to my nephew. I even downloaded the instructions from many of the old sets and counted out the pieces (by stacking them in blocks) to be sure he could at least build them once. As long as kids aren't too corrupted by all this marketing for Batman, Star Wars, etc. they can still have a lot of fun and actually a chance to create things.
    Reply