CastAR is a unique AR and VR headset designed by Technical Illusions. This is the ultimate augmented and virtual reality system currently in development.
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Technical Illusions co-founder, Jeri Ellsworth, is a chip designer who worked at Valve Software’s hardware lab on projects such as the Steam Controller. In May 2012 she was working late at night, doing some experiments with a projector and saw an unexpected flash of light on the opposite side of the room. After some observation Jeri discovered it was a piece of retro-reflective material, and realized that this material could be used as a surface for projecting images onto. Many good things were discovered by an accident, such as penicillin.
Rick Johnson, also e former Valve employee, got involved with castAR after Jeri told him about AR prototype project which was called “head crab” at the time. She needed help with the software side and Rick spent the next 5 months developing a prototyping system. The formed Technical Illusions company in 2013, devoting an average of 14 hours a day into creating a new technology that we know as castAR.
castAR is a projected augmented reality system that displays holographic-like 3D projections right in front of its wearer. Inspired by Star Wars: A New Hope which has been filmed nearly 35 years ago, the unique headset should make it possible to bring that dream into reality. It includes a highly precise and fast tracking solution, meaning you will be able to hold your 3D world in place while at the same time freely moving around in it.
The headset uses the Magic Wand and the RFID Tracking Grid peripherals to bridge physical and virtual worlds. The Magic Wand is a controller that lets you position things in space and control them all with one hand. The RFID allows you to identify, track and augment physical objects across the surface.
One of the goals developers aimed to accomplish is to design an enjoyable and comfortable experience for a wide audience. If everything goes as planned, the final retail version of glasses should weigh less than 100 grams, and on top of that it will be possible to wear castAR on the outer side of prescription glasses. Lastly, they want to make castAR the most versatile head-mounted display.
With a single system, you will be able to experience a true virtual reality as well as an augmented one. To achieve all that and more they went to Kickstarter and asked for $400,000. The project was successfully funded last November, by raising more than $1,052,000.
How does castAR work?
The system consists of two main components: a pair of super cool glasses and a surface. Two micro-projectors are housed within the frames, one for each eye. Each projector is responsible for casting a perspective view of a stereoscopic 3D image onto the surface. Your eyes focus on projected image in a natural way. Infrared identification markers have to be placed on the surface, and a tiny camera, fitted in-between the projectors, will scan markers to precisely track your head position and orientation in the physical world. This way it enables software to adjust how the holographic scenes should appear in front of you. HDMI connection is responsible for transmitting a video signal to the glasses. If this sounds too technical, you can watch the video at the top to get a better idea of what will be possible with castAR system.
Even those who are not happy with Facebook-Oculus VR deal can look forward to the castAR, which is the most versatile virtual reality headset so far. You can pre-order the future at castAR Official store.
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