[IFA 2017] Lenovo Makes Your Star Wars: Jedi (or Sith) Dreams a Near Reality
Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin 2017 (IFA 2017) is one of the biggest industrial shows in 2017 that has been traditionally held in Berlin. The dust over the show has finally settled down from last week and we can finally calm down a little and take a deeper look at what was announced.
Obviously with the focus on Artificial Intelligence; or machine learning to some, Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) contents in this season these things start to take center stage in the show. Especially true for Lenovo with their new Mirage AR headset, and Explorer Mixed Reality headset. They have gone a step further though, collaborating with Disney’s Star Wars franchise to bring your dreams of being part of that universe closer to reality than ever. Firstly we have to take a look at their brand new VR and AR headsets though.
First up, the Mirage AR headset. The first thing you would have to notice with this AR headset is that it is wireless. That is because, like the Samsung Gear VR it pairs to a smartphone device. Unlike the Samsung Gear VR though the Mirage AR pairs to any Android or Apple smartphone to bring you seamless AR/VR experience. It also comes with its own Tracking Beacon which is placed on the floor to act as a stable base in tracking the user’s location in tandem to the beacon – to establish an anchor point obviously and for camera stabilisation and positioning. It pairs with a proprietary wireless controller too to create a fully immersive AR/VR gaming experiences. All that just by launching a Mirage AR compatible app and sliding your device into the Mirage AR smartphone tray. Currently the only controller that is able to be paired to the Mirage AR headset is the collectible standard Lightsaber Controller specially designed to replicate the Skywalkers’ heirloom.
Next up is the Lenovo Explorer Mixed Reality headset designed to work with your PCs. Unlike the Mirage AR headset the Explorer Mixed Reality headset is not wireless and compact. It is a full VR headset developed by Lenovo in collaboration with Microsoft. According to Lenovo, the partnership has been building different VR worlds while soon churning out more than 100 VR-ready contents. With the Explorer also you can access your Microsoft Office Suite, browse the internet, watch your favourite shows, play games, watch 3D videos to make it even more immersive, easily experience 360-degree videos, and you still can do that at 4K resolution (provided content is 4K resolution itself). This is also a plug-and-play sort of hardware so setting it up should be a breeze.
Now, what is this Star Wars thing that we were talking about? Of course with the looming of Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi there are bound to be a tonne of teaser sort of content out there. Lenovo joins in the hype with the Star Wars; Jedi Challenge augmented reality game. This is designed with the Mirage AR headset in mind. The app works in any Android (subjective to specs) and iPhone devices. All you need to do to experience this is to get the app, launch it, slide it into a Mirage AR headset, pair the headset to the lightsaber controller and get rolling. The controller is now your navigator, pointer, and in-game weapon. Its simple two-button configuration makes it so much more intuitive for users (no more fumbling across several buttons to do what you want to do!).
The Lenovo Mirage AR and Explorer Mixed Reality headsets will be available in certain markets November onward. There are no confirmed pricing so far but then again; unfortunately, Malaysia is not one of those confirmed market just yet. While that is a bummer, one still can dream to be a Jedi (or Sith, if that is your thing) right? Press releases after the break.
Star Wars™: Jedi Challenges, A New Smartphone-Powered Augmented Reality Experience Launching this Holiday
Star Wars experiences brought to life with the Lenovo Mirage™ AR headset, Lightsaber controller, and all-new gameplay content from a galaxy far, far away
Available for Pre-Order Now on Lenovo™ Online and at Local Retailers1; Compatible with Android™ phones and iPhones®
BERLIN — August 31, 2017: Lenovo (HKSE: 992) (ADR: LNVGY) and Disney today unveiled Star Wars: Jedi Challenges, a new augmented reality Star Wars product that allows fans to experience Star Wars in ways never before possible. Jedi Challenges features a smartphone-powered Lenovo Mirage AR headset, Tracking Beacon, Lightsaber controller, and hours of Star Wars gameplay.2 Jedi Challenges is being unveiled as part of Force Friday II, which celebrates the worldwide launch of new Star Wars products. The product is compatible with both Android phones and iPhones, will be available this holiday season and is available for pre-order now on Lenovo online and at local retailers.1
“With Star Wars: Jedi Challenges, Lenovo and Disney are bringing Star Wars to fans in ways they could previously only imagine,” says Jeff Meredith, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Lenovo Consumer PCs and Smart Devices. “Augmented reality has always been an important part of Star Wars, and it’s exciting to bring these key moments to life by marrying Lenovo technology with Disney’s storytelling.”
Players will hone their Jedi talents across a variety of augmented reality-based experiences, each offering multiple levels of deep and immersive gameplay. To guide the player on this journey, Jedi Challenges will introduce an all-new Star Wars character, the Archivist. The Archivist instructs players in the ways of the Force™ and the knowledge of the Jedi. Throughout these challenges, users will train to perfect their lightsaber skills by taking on some of the most menacing villains the dark side has to offer, command armies in combat missions to defeat the Empire, and outwit their opponents in Holochess, all in augmented reality.
- Lightsaber Battles. With their very own lightsaber, fans can train against legendary dark side villains like Kylo Ren and Darth Vader.
- Strategic Combat. Players marshal the forces of the Republic, Rebel Alliance, and Resistance against the might of the Separatists, Empire, and First Order in epic battles across their living room floors. Players can hone their skills in strategy and tactics as they engage in battles.
- Perhaps one of the most iconic board games brought to film, Holochess first leapt into moviegoer hearts when it was played on the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope™. It has now been brought to life in Jedi Challenges. Fans can direct their holographic alien pieces across the board, wrestling for territory and control.
“We believe augmented reality will usher in a new era of storytelling and play an important role in the experiences we create for our fans,” said Kyle Laughlin, Senior Vice President, Games Confidential until embargo lifts on Aug 31, 2017 at 5pm CEST
and Interactive Experiences, Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media. “With Star Wars: Jedi Challenges, we’re bringing together the latest technology and one of the most recognized franchises in the galaxy to fulfill the wishes of anyone who’s ever wanted to wield a lightsaber or take on empire forces on the battlefield.”
Hardware and technology
Users start by downloading the Star Wars: Jedi Challenges app3 onto their compatible phone and sliding the phone into the tray of the Lenovo Mirage AR headset. Sleek, portable and lightweight, the Lenovo Mirage AR headset will provide full gaming immersion with an optimal level of comfort during gameplay. The headset also comes with a Tracking Beacon, which is placed on the floor and acts as a stable base for the headset’s sensors to detect the user’s movement during gameplay.
Equipped with two built-in fisheye sensors to provide inside-out positional tracking, the headset allows for free and natural motion for the player to move around as they duel opponents or direct their forces and pieces across the battlefield.
The headset pairs with a collectible-quality Lightsaber controller, modeled after the one wielded by Anakin Skywalker, Luke Skywalker, and Rey. Designed to be a key part of the experience, the Lightsaber acts as a controller and pointer, allowing players to navigate the user interface, with all controls, actions and commands activated with a simple two-button configuration.
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. 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.
Availability and pricing
Pricing and availability for Star Wars: Jedi Challenges will vary from country to country and the product will be available beginning in November in certain markets