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Disney uses 'Pokemon Go'-like AR in iPhone app to promote upcoming 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'

Disney is going to promote upcoming movie 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' using augmented reality (AR) on iPhones and iPads, with a promotion that requires users to scan codes to unlock AR experiences with characters from the film using the 'Star Wars' iOS app.

Running from September 1 to September 3, the "Find the Force" promotion will require "Star Wars" app users to to visit any of 20,000 participating retail locations, which will display a graphic that users will have to scan with their iPhone.

Scanning the code will reveal a character within the app, one of 15 which will rotate across the entire three-day run of the promotion. The character will appear on the iPhone screen in AR, looking as if they are in the same room, which users can then take photos and record videos of, before sharing on social media.

In select global markets, people sharing photographs and videos featuring the in-store AR characters via Twitter or Instagram using specific hashtags across the weekend will be entered into sweepstakes. The grand prize for the sweepstakes are tickets to attend the premiere of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" in Los Angeles this December, as well as a private tour of Lucasfilm in San Francisco.

Scanning the codes will also add a "data chip" to the user's app for each AR character experience triggered. These data chips can be used to unlock more digital rewards, including video clips from the franchise.

Disney has already released an update to the "Star Wars" app in the iOS App Store, with users of version 2.3.1 also able to unlock a character early by scanning an image on the Star Wars website.

As shown by Disney, app-based AR experiences can be used as a promotional tool, with Apple keen to make the virtual experience more accessible to users and app developers alike. In June's WWDC, Apple launched ARKit, a developer toolset for quickly and easily integrating AR into apps, assisting with surface and object detection and tracking, light estimation, and other elements by combining camera sensor data with CoreMotion data.