What the Tech: New app creates LEGO sets by scanning pieces

Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 6:15 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - If there are children in your house, it’s a safe bet that there are LEGO blocks and bricks scattered everywhere.

As hard as you try to keep things picked up and in toy boxes, those small plastic pieces end up in the strangest places.

Derek Alter, dad of two boys in prime LEGO building age says he finds them every time he and his wife, Caroline, clean the couches and vacuum the floor.

“In the bathrooms, in the playroom, in the kitchen. You’re always finding Legos because they’re tiny and they stray everywhere,” says Alter.

Has he ever stepped on one barefoot? “Ohhh yeah. Bad words come out of the mouth,” he says.

LEGOS is the best-selling toy of all time.

It’s estimated there are over 320 LEGO bricks on the planet, that’s 80 for every person in the world.

Part of the reason LEGOS have become a parent’s least favorite toy is it takes a creative mind to figure out what to do with them all and for most children, they can only see the pile, not what they can build. That’s where this app “Brickit” comes in.

Brickit uses a smartphone camera to take a photo and then scan all the pieces as they’re laid out on a flat surface.

On-screen each piece glows as it’s being scanned and saved. Once that step is complete, Brickit displays not only the total number of LEGOS in the picture but all the possibilities that can be constructed from the pieces in the photo.

When the Alters scanned just a small pile of their LEGOS the app counted several hundred and displayed 243 possible designs including trees, animals, and other objects. Along with the photo and description, Brickit also displays every piece you need and how many.

The Alters sort of like searching for the pieces themselves but when they couldn’t find a certain piece (such as the elusive LEGO ear), you can take the Brickit app, and it locates the piece in the pile for you.

Once the design is created, you can take a photo and save it to your Brickit profile folder, so you’ll always have a record of what you’ve built.

Caroline Alter said they downloaded the app one evening and played with the LEGOS for three hours, something they hadn’t done in quite some time.

The Brickit app is free but a subscription to a Pro version gives you more ideas of things to build and includes the “finder” feature.

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