Star Wars: Jedi Challenges AR Platform Launching This Holiday For $199

by David Jagneaux • September 20th, 2017

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!

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  • Tux Topo Topo

    So… you need an active marker for the AR headset… Where is this different to untethered VR? The costs most probabbly…. I’m not convinced…

    • My guess is the beacon is for the controller or something? They say it has internal inside-out cameras on the front for tracking so I don’t think it needs the beacon to work generally. Haven’t tried it yet, though.

      • Guygasm

        Yes it “has internal inside-out cameras” but it is not markerless. The headset is using the beacon as its fixed reference. If it wasn’t, the beacon wouldn’t be a big glowing ball. The beacon has dual tracking cameras as well (according to Best Buy’s specifications). I would speculate that these are used for controller tracking in addition to the headset’s cameras to reduce occlusion issues as the controller tip is quite small and easily blocked from the headset by your arms/hands as well as at your sides.

        This also looks like a forward facing only experience (no 360° tracking). The beacon is the only fixed reference and the headset will lose tracking when turned >90° from the beacon position. The headset description says dual camera (both clearly visible on the front) so no additional cameras on sides/back. Also, no apparent colored/lit markers on the headset to allow the beacon to track it when turned. Presumably if IR markers were used on the headset, they would have also used them on the beacon rather than having a glowing ball in your view for no reason.

        Ultimately the games would be designed around this limitation so perhaps not a big deal like it would be on an actual platform. But that means you won’t have a Star Wars universe augmented all around you, just a Jedi/AT-AT/Holochess board in front of you. It’s probably closest to CastAR in terms of experience.

        • brandon9271

          CastAR.. Have heard that name in a while. After they still a thing? They seemed to have vanished. I’m glad I didn’t waste money backing them. I almost did

  • Flipper Tweenie

    The videos are laughable. Probably a floating lightsaber, #1 reason to not buy right there… the graphics look terrible. Why is everything a hologram? They couldn’t be bothered to make detailed characters that look amazing?? This is so half assed. I might consider it when it’s 10$ in the clearance bin.

    • Rothgarr

      I don’t know about laughable, but I agree with you in waiting to consider picking it up when it hits clearance. Hopefully they’ll eventually bring these activities to Vive/Rift/PSVR.

      • Flipper Tweenie

        Extremely laughable… they barely showed anything. Especially the battles, all you see is the length of the light saber nothing else. Not enough to make a reasonable decision to buy this crap at all. Everything is a hologram so, half assed there as well. Not to mention you will need a smartphone capable.

  • johngrimoldy

    Wouldn’t something like this be much better in full VR where you could be fighting inside of the Death Star, rather than with your silly living room as the setting? ‘Seems pretty lame and limited.