Over the weekend an intriguing new video trailer popped up on YouTube. It was published by Lenovo and credited to Lenovo and Disney and will likely set Star Wars fans hearts a flutter. In the video we get a pretty clear view of what looks like an as yet unannounced new virtual reality and/or augmented reality headset and a light sabre accessory.
The trailer is for Star Wars: Jedi Challenges, and is referred to as a 'sneak peak' for this title but we don't really get to see any gaming. What we do get to see, is a woman don what looks to be a wireless VR/AR headset. Later she reaches into the product packaging and picks up what looks like a pretty close replica Star Wars light sabre. While we see an inch or two of the sabre's tip glows blue, in the reflection of the HMD visor we can also see that to the wearer it looks to be a full-length glowing blue light sabre. Oh, and it powers up with that signature sound followed by the tell-tale hum you would expect.
As many will know, Disney is the owner of the Star Wars franchise now. It appears to have chosen to partner with Lenovo for the hardware side of its Star Wars: Jedi Challenges experience. It is throught that the headset combines VR and AR capabilities as the visor looks transparent in the video, so real-world elements can be combined with computer generated imagery in your view.
According to SlashGear, the Lenovo HMD will indeed be untethered, as somehow it will be powered by a smartphone. That is hinted at on the product page as Star Wars: Jedi Challenges is referred to as a "new app‑enabled augmented reality experience".
It's the first time I've seen a smartphone powered HMD do AR, rather than just VR, so it will be an interesting implementation. Using a smartphone as the mobile powerplant will keep costs down but doesn't inspire great confidence in the end result's graphics capabilities, especially as we have seen dedicated AR systems like Microsoft's HoloLens offer what some consider to be a disappointing experience with regard to FOV.
Disney / Lenovo haven't mentioned pricing and there isn't a release date - but it is "coming soon" according to the dedicated Lenovo microsite, where you can sign up to learn more about the product and news of availability.