It’s our first blog article of 2017 and it’s a fun one because it’s about a toy – but not just your average toy. Lego have debuted a new toy called Lego boost at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas and it sounds awesome. The Danish-based toy maker’s Lego Boost is a building and coding set that combines the play experience of a traditional Lego set with an app-based coding play experience. Frankly, we needed to find out more as this sounds like a big leap from the traditional Lego we know and love.
Lego hopes to teach children how to code with the new toy as it combines a downloadable app and the traditional ‘Lego brick’ toy set. The children will be able to create five possible Lego creations, Vernie the Robot, Frankie the Cat, the Guitar 4000, the Multi-Tool Rover 4 (M.T.R.4), and the Autobuilder, if the instructions are followed correctly.
“We know that children dream of bringing their Lego creations to life, and our chief ambition for Lego Boost is to fulfil that wish,” said Lego Group design lead Simon Kent. “Once children build a Lego creation, we give them simple coding tools to ‘boost’ their models by adding personality.”
So, why is it so important to teach children these skills? In case you hadn’t noticed, globally there is a worrying skills shortage in the tech sector that only looks to be widening. STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) toys such as the Lego Boost will help to introduce these basic skills to a child early on and may lead to a greater interest in the child’s future.
We want children to first and foremost have a fun and limitless play experience, adding the coding opportunity is the means to get there,” Kent said.
Lego Boost, developed for children aged 7 or older, will hit retail shelves in the second half of the year and will be priced at $159.99 (roughly £130). It hasn’t been confirmed yet when we can expect to see the toy in the UK but we’re sure it wont be too long.
Lego aren’t the only ones trying to dominate the STEM toy market, 2016 saw a range of different companies enter the industry with the same purpose. The industry is well aware that kids are spending more time playing with mobile devices and other toys infused with tech so they can’t afford to not be at the forefront if they want to compete.
The CES event will feature many other new tech innovations, the most weird and wonderful we’ve heard about so far is a bike with an inbuilt computer, jeans that can direct you to your destination and a hairbrush that can detect damaged hair! The show is celebrating its 50th anniversary – the first show in New York in 1967 attracted 17,000 people.
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