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iOS-connected LEGO Boost will help children learn programming, building

Children will be able to bring their LEGO creations to life with the help of LEGO Boost, a new building and coding set that utilizes bricks with environment sensors, and a connected iOS application.

LEGO Boost aims to introduce children to the basics of programming by allowing them to add movement, sound and "personality" to a traditional lego set. All of it is accomplished via an app-based coding environment, intended for children age 7 and up.

The kit is a basic robotic set that is built around Move Hub, a motorized brick with a built-in tilt sensor, and is powered by six AAA batteries. Children add legos, motors and sensors that combine color and distance detection to add movement to their creations.

Five building projects are available with Boost: Vernie the Robot, Frankie the Cat, the Guitar 4000, the Multi-Tool Rover 4 (M.T.R.4), and the Autobuilder.

By downloading the Boost app, children can build the projects via building instructions and simple coding commands. Just like traditional lego projects, kids build their creations by linking coding blocks for certain actions and they can also add voice recordings.

It's similar to LEGO Mindstorms programming, but utilizes a simpler interface for younger children.

For more advance personalization, the app also includes a "creative canvas" of basic building instructions for three base models that users can customize. They are a walking base for animals, a driving base for vehicles and an entrance base for buildings like a fort.

Boost will retail for $159.99 and is set to arrive in the second half of 2017, according to LEGO Group. The LEGO Boost app will be available as a free download for iOS and Android tablets.