CastAR – A Future in Augmented Reality and Videogames

written by Jack Dashwood in Education & Entertainment on 31. Oct '13

augmented reality, 
augmented reality system, 
castAR, 
gaming, 
gaming glasses, 
Jeri Ellsworth, 
kickstarter, 
Rick Johnson, 
technical illusions, 
Valve, 
Valve Corporation, 
videogames, 
virtual reality, 
wearable computing 

 Back in my day we had sticks. Two sticks and a rock for the whole platoon — and we had to share the rock!

The world of augmented reality continues to grow and evolve as more and more players throw in their ideas and inventions into the market. Today we’re going to highlight a system that many of us here at Metaio are excited to see in action: castAR by Technical Illusions.

You know our motto! “We deliver!”

What is castAR?

CastAR, developed by former Valve employees Jeri Ellsworth and Rick Johnson, is a projection-based augmented reality system that uses two micro-projectors to cast dim images that reflect off a retroreflective material. The retroreflective material (similar to what you see on safety jackets and road signs) is constructed to reduce light scattering so the image you send bounces straight back to you even if there are multiple castARs aimed at the same location. This also means that multiple systems can look at the same space and receive unique perspectives based on where they are projecting from.

Cool, got some technical speak for me?

The optimal design. Almost there!

No. Okay, maybe a little. CastAR is equipped with standard-definition projectors that provide 45 degrees of viewing with plans to implement HD (720p) projectors for 60 degrees of viewing or more.  The game itself is run on a computer that castAR communicates through with USB or HDMI/DVI and uses package structures of 72 bytes per frame (really not much of a mouthful). There is also a tracking camera that refreshes at a rate of 120 hertz making it more than capable of following your movements with sub-millimeter accuracy.

Sounds pretty good to me, what else do you know?

For now castAR is in prototype mode. Jeri and Rick have shown some working models at the Maker Faire 2013 in San Francisco and New York. They recently started a Kickstarter campaign that has already successfully raised over $500,000 in a week, surpassing their original goal of $400,000 in a single day! As the campaign continues its success they’ve added two stretch goals: customizable tile mappers and  (even more hopefully) positional audio for headphones and an integrated mic. We look forward to everything Jeri and Rick have planned (which hopefully includes a few games of D&D). Be sure to check out their website, Kickstarter, and the video below for more information.

I think we’re just getting started.

Jack

Jack Dashwood
Jack knew that he was interested in Augmented Reality ever since he learned how to read at age 25. Fast forward and Jack now works at center of the universe when it comes to AR: the offices of Metaio. How did he wind up here? We don’t know, but we have yet to find a legitimate excuse to get rid of him. In the meantime we let him work on the blog and run the Metaio US PR operations. When not talking and writing about AR technology, he can usually be found augmenting his reality by more traditional means down the local pub.

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