You won’t have to wait much longer before you can step into the Star Wars AR experience. The new $199 Lenovo Mirage AR headset is already available for pre-order and will hit the stores in early November.
The Star Wars trailer gives you a sense of the experience from inside the headset. But it’s actually a preview of how augmented reality will transform gaming and entertainment experiences.
The days of doing your Jedi battles on your computer screen are over.
Lenovo Mirage AR Headset
VR Scout has a description of how the headset works:
Equipped with two built-in fisheye sensors to provide inside-out positional tracking, the headset allows for free motion for you to move around. You’ll notice that the hilt of the lightsaber has a glowing blue light, that’s because the entire system uses visible light-tracking technology, allowing the headset’s sensors to lock onto the position of the Lightsaber controller. Haptic feedback is activated as you strike or block opponents, while an inertial measurement unit sends rotational information from the controller to the smartphone to assist the beam in remaining stable mid-swing.
From the front, it’s not that far afield from the look of Microsoft’ HoloLens. But it’s a world of difference in price. It weighs about a pound (not including your phone) and offers a 60° horizontal (and 30° vertical) field of view. Better than HoloLens but less than what we’re accustomed to in our VR headsets.
Since the Lenovo Mirage runs off your phone, it clearly designed for the consumer market. You’ll find a more detailed analysis over at Trusted Reviews.
Star Wars AR now – but more is coming
As popular as the Star Wars AR experience will be, the AR headset will be a bit of a one-trick pony at the beginning. You’ll have the option of Jedi battles, Strategic Combat and Holochess. But expect it to be opened up to a range of other mixed reality games and experiences. This could be HoloLens for the masses.
This could be HoloLens for the masses.
If Pokemon Go got you outdoors, the Lenovo headset will have you crawling around a virtual battlefield on your living room floor. And maybe outside depending on how well it handles sunlight.
Besides the entertainment angle, the Lenovo device has real possibilities in education and museums. With cross-platform compatibility for Android and iOS, it will work with most high-end smartphones. And the low-cost puts makes it feasible to equip an entire class or offering the HMD’s as part of a museum experience.
With the massive marketing resources of Star Wars and Disney, the Lenovo headsets could be wildly popular. And gaming on our Smartphones and PC’s may soon seem as outdated as the coin-operated arcade games of the 1980’s.
Just put the lamps and glasses away before you begin your Jedi training.
Emory Craig is a writer, speaker, and VR consultant with extensive experience in art, new media, and higher education. He speaks at global conferences on innovation, education, and ethical technology in the future. He has published widely and worked with the US Agency for International Development, the United Nations, and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Living at the intersection of learning, games, and immersive storytelling, he is fascinated by AI-based avatars, digital twins, and the ethical implications of blurring the boundaries between the real and the virtual.