Take a picture of a pile of Legos and this app will give you build ideas

Children’s hands playing with Lego bricks
Adobe

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One thing is certain about parenting kids who love Legos: Once the Lego bricks get inside your home, they will begin to multiply. The playsets, the giant collections of multicolored pieces, the big builds that are really for display only — over time, it can seem like you’re storing an entire city’s worth of bricks.

So what do you do with all those bricks when the play sets come apart and everyone’s fresh out of ideas? An app called Brickit is made for moments like this, and I used it!

The app, available on Google Play and the Apple App Store, is a nifty bit of Lego-loving tech: Point your phone at a pile of Legos and the app will scan your collection. Then it delivers a list of ideas for items you can build with what’s available. When you select a build, Brickit will even highlight the needed bricks within the pile — so you don’t need to poke around the heap in search of each brick.

The suggested builds range from simple animal shapes, like an alligator or a butterfly, to vehicles and small scenes. The more bricks you pour out, the more suggestions the app creates. Unfurl the play mat and get to work!

MORE: These are 14 of the most challenging Lego sets to build

According to the creators, what makes Brickit work is machine learning: the app uses 3d modeling and an algorithm to recognize 1,600 of the most common brick shapes. After taking a look at your inventory, Brickit provides you with pictures of the construction possibilities and includes a Leg0-style virtual building guide.

After you build, you’re invited to share your creation on Instagram — with just a couple of clicks, Brickit creates a Story to add to your profile. Sharing your pic with Brickit also helps it develop its algorithm via machine learning.

As the proud caretaker of at least one giant storage container of Legos, I decided to give Brickit a try.

The app is cleanly designed and easy to use, walking you through step-by-step. It offers little tips, too, telling you to remove larger pieces, adjust lighting and lay the pieces flush with the floor. For it to count properly, you’ll want to take your Legos out from storage and lay them out.

Snap the pic and Brickit gets to work, delivering a list of ideas — handily organized into categories, if you wish — in seconds. Scroll through, select a project and you’re off.

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Brickit recommended using a pile of at least 500 pieces to get the most results. The pile I used was just a fraction of our Lego hoard, but I still got almost 350 ideas from Brickit.

I chose a tiny “Micro Mario” figure (as in Super Mario Bros.) for my experiment. Brickit didn’t quite nail some of the colors and pieces that I’d scanned, so my result isn’t exactly what it suggested, but it was honestly pretty fun to devise minor workarounds.

The Brickit suggestion was just a starting point — I made a tiny scene with my Micro Mario and a Goomba I came up with on my own. Cute, right?

Tiny Mario and Goomba creature made with Legos
Kathleen St. John

MORE: Check out today’s deals on LEGO.com

Brickit could be a dream come true for kids experiencing bad-weather days at home, recovering from the sniffles or just as mostly-tech-free fun. Note: Though the app is free to download, it’s $6.99 per month to use all the features, or $39.99 for a one-year subscription if you have an iOS device. For Androids, the cost is $34.99 annually or $2.92 a month. You do get a seven-day free trial.

Affiliate, Parenting, Technology
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About the Author
Kathleen St. John
Kathleen St. John is a freelance journalist. She lives in Denver with her husband, two kids and a fiercely protective Chihuahua. Visit Scripps News to see more of Kathleen's work.

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