Star-Wars-Jedi-Challenges-promo Lenovo

NED Tech Gift of the Year: Star Wars Jedi Challenges

We all have wanted to be a Jedi at one time or another, but who needs Kyber crystals and an unnatural connection to the force when all you need is a smartphone and $200?

Each month we keep you apprised of the latest tech and devices (more than 100 each issue) we think would make great gifts for your plant's productivity, efficiency, and safety. The holidays are all about remembering the people in our lives, so for this particular gift guide, our mission was to find a diverse range of new toys and tech that will directly affect you. Some you might want to get for the third-shifters who have battled insomnia all year so you can keep up with demand. Others, perhaps for a competitive sibling who always tries to outdo you on DIY projects. And because Christmas is really first and foremost for children, we found some truly awesome STEM gifts. And probably because we're still kids at heart, we couldn't make a list without that one item we've wanted our whole lives to be real and finally is.

This year, it's the Star Wars Jedi Challenges ($200), an augmented reality suite from Lenovo. We all wanted to be like Luke Skywalker, play Holochess on the Millennium Falcon and duel our dads with a lightsaber, and now we can. And more than being a fun gift, it perfectly sums up where we are industrially. While some things never go out of style, with emerging technology, there's always a way to make it completely new. Lenovo didn't need to tap into the force to know AR is the next big thing; they looked at what their customers want. Anticipating and delivering on customer needs is the greatest gift you can have.

Lenovo

The system includes a lightsaber controller, Mirage AR headset, and tracking beacon.

We talked to Matt Bereda, vice president, Global Consumer Marketing at Lenovo, who gave us some insights into how Lenovo made what we think we be the gift of the year.

NED: We use Lenovo laptops at the office and they're great, but we would never expect something this awesome coming from a computer manufacturer (no offense). How did you come up with the idea?

Matt Bereda: To adapt to shifting customer needs, we're expanding beyond our core PC offerings and exploring new opportunities in the realm of AR, VR and MR (mixed reality) to offer people even more immersive and personalized computing experiences. Combining great content with exceptional technology will be key, and partnering with major players like Disney is a big step in the right direction. With Disney, we share the belief that AR is a great platform for a new kind of storytelling and immersive entertainment. So it was a natural fit for us to team up and build this exciting new AR technology together that will give Star Wars fans a new way to interact with their favorite moments.

NED: Pokémon Go gets referenced a lot for the visibility it brought to AR. What impact do you hope to have with Jedi?

MB: We hope to fulfill the wishes of Star Wars fans who have always wanted to wield a lightsaber or take on empire forces on the battlefield. Star Wars: Jedi Challenges is designed to be an accessible AR experience for fans, bringing together the latest AR technology and one of the most recognized franchises in the galaxy.

Within the game, fans can experience three different challenges:

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.

Holochess: 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.

 

Lenovo

NED: How could this type of tech be used in an industrial setting? Any plans you can tell us about enterprise AR hardware?

MB: We believe the commercial AR/VR market is going to be big, possibly reaching $40B+ by 2021. In addition to bringing AR/VR products to consumers like Star Wars: Jedi Challenges and Lenovo Explorer immersive headset for Windows Mixed Reality, we're also working on developing best-in-class AR/VR technology for verticals like healthcare, retail, education and industrial categories. The result will be a solutions approach for commercial customers. This is an exciting space and we'll share more on that later.

Each month we keep you apprised of the latest tech and devices (more than 100 each issue) we think would make great gifts for your plant's productivity, efficiency, and safety. The holidays are all about remembering the people in our lives, so for this particular gift guide, our mission was to find a diverse range of new toys and tech that will directly affect you. Some you might want to get for the third-shifters who have battled insomnia all year so you can keep up with demand. Others, perhaps for a competitive sibling who always tries to outdo you on DIY projects. And because Christmas is really first and foremost for children, we found some truly awesome STEM gifts. And probably because we're still kids at heart, we couldn't make a list without that one item we've wanted our whole lives to be real and finally is.

Star Wars: Jedi Challenges is available now online at www.jedichallenges.com and www.bestbuy.com.

 

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