castAR system provides Augmented and Virtual Reality experiences

Ex-Valve employees develop 3D holo-glasses

Two ex-Valve employees have developed a system for Augmented and Virtual Reality holographic projections, which can be contained in a set of glasses.

The system – dubbed castAR – uses two micro-projectors mounted on the glasses, which project a stereoscopic 3D image on a surface. A camera embedded between the projectors tracks the user’s head movements and allows the 3D reality to maintain the consistency of the holographic scene.

What this means is that the Augmented – computer-generated graphics integrated into real life – or entirely computer-generated Virtual Reality appears in front of the user naturally, without causing nausea or disappearing or distorting when viewed from another angle.

A reflective sheet onto which the reality can be projected can also be used, as well as a ‘Wand’, which can be used to manipulate characters, graphics and other projected graphics.

The developers, Jeri Ellsworth and Rick Johnson, see the technology as suitable for gaming – including board gaming, giving the example of Dungeons & Dragons Game Masters who can set up the board using RFID stamps and use similarly tagged character models to play in a CG world – education and graphic design among other use cases.

“You could turn your entire room into a Holodeck,” stated Ellsworth in the Kickstarter pitch video for the system, referencing the popular Star Trek virtual reality facility.

“Right now, you’ve only seen this technology in movies,” agreed Johnson.

The Kickstarter, which has already raised over $250,000 of its $400,000 in the 24 hours since its start yesterday (October 14th), allows pledgers to get their hands on a set of castAR glasses and a 1x1m projection surface in the ‘Starter Package’ for $189 (£118).

Visit Technical Illusions’ Kickstarter page for castAR to see more details and to back the system.

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