At the D23 Expo in Anaheim, CA earlier this year Lenovo and Disney revealed a partnership, with Lucasfilm, to work on a Star Wars-themed AR experience platform. Titled Star Wars: Jedi Challenges, users would don a specially created Lenovo headset, hold a replica lightsaber handle, and embark on a series of adventures and challenges to become one with The Force.
Today, Lenovo is announcing that the entire platform (Lenovo Mirage headset, lightsaber handle, tracking beacon, and AR apps) will launch this holiday season in November, 2017 for $199.99 and will feature “hours of gameplay.” You can pre-order it now at Best Buy and Lenovo.
The Jedi Challenges platform will feature three core experiences: lightsaber battles, strategic combat, and holochess. You’ll be able to fight in a lightsaber duel against the likes of Kylo Ren and even Darth Vader whereas the “strategic combat” is reportedly like a mini-RTS shrunk down onto the floor.
By looking down with the headset on you’ll see rebel and empire forces duking it out as you take control and command the armies. Finally, there’s holochess, because of course there is. In the videos above and below you can get a first-look at what there is on display from a video featuring the Carlin Brothers.
Once the headset is released all you need to do is download the Jedi Challenges app and slide the phone into Lenovo Mirage headset. You place the tracking beacon (shown below a couple of paragraphs) on the floor so it can see the lightsaber controller, and then you’re good to go. The headset looks like it works very similarly to the Mira Prism AR headset with the visor display.
There are two sensors on the front of the headset to provide inside-out positional tracking so you can easily move around the environment. Since the visor just rests in front of your eyes you can also easily see through the images and still get a feel for your physical surroundings, which is how it creates the illusion of augmented reality in a 3D space.
Once you pair the lightsaber you’ll use it for everything from fighting off Sith lords to selecting options in the menu. Lenovo describes it as a “collectible quality” replica Skywalker lightsaber handle.
“Through visible light-tracking technology, the headset’s sensors work together to lock onto the position of the Lightsaber controller, allowing players to see a beam form above the “hilt”, which they can use to block and interact with the universe in-game,” Lenovo states in its press release. “Haptic feedback is activated as players strike or block their opponents, while an inertial measurement unit sends rotational information from the controller to the smartphone to assist the beam in remaining stable mid-swing.
How all of this adds up to “hours of gameplay” remains to be seen, but it’s certainly an exciting thing to think about unwrapping beneath a Christmas tree this holiday season.
What do you think of the Star Wars: Jedi Challenges AR platform? Let us know down in the comments below!