Ex-Valve inventor's augmented reality tech hits funding goal

Kickstarter campaign for castAR technology from Jeri Ellsworth and Rick Johnson exceeds $400,000 target in under two days.

The castAR holographic projection technology from former Valve employees Jeri Ellsworth and Rick Johnson has exceeded its $400,000 Kickstarter funding target less than 48 hours after the campaign went live on Monday.

Funding currently stands at $406,780 from 1,675 backers.

"We had no idea it would generate the amount of interest it has in such a short period of time," reads a statement from developer Technical Illusions. "In the case that we significantly surpass our initial fundraising goal, we will have additional resources available to add new features to existing pledge levels."

CastAR is a "projected augmented reality system" that is reportedly capable of displaying "holographic-like" 3D projections. The developers said Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope sparked their interest and imaginations for what could be possible with such technology.

The castAR technology is made possible through two peripherals in addition to the glasses: the "Magic Wand" and the RFID Tracking Grid. The wand allows users to position items in space and control them, while the grid allows users to identify these objects (like cards or board game pieces) across the surface.

Should funding reach $600,000, Technical Illusions plans to create a fully functional "dungeon tiling tool" that will work with both the RFID Tracking Grid and the Magic Wand independently. If the campaign attracts $800,000, a microphone will be integrated into the glasses, while earbuds will also be added.

Ellsworth and Johnson encouraged backers to share their thoughts on the Kickstarter page about what they would like to see for future stretch goals. The campaign closes on November 14.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

40 comments
Hurvl
Hurvl

The glasses look a bit dorky and those projectors ontop look like glowing cyborg eyebrows, but no cares about that when they're using them. Quite extraordinary that it reached 400 000 in so little time and the average pledge is above 240 dollars. I don't know if it can get 800 000, but anything is possible with so much time left. They're currently at above 450 000.

Ragnawind
Ragnawind

Pretty cool device, however, they make some false claims, including saying that their clip-on can change it from Augmented reality to true VR. True VR would involve the entire body, not just sight, though, so that is a false claim. They also seem to think there is no real competition with this, but there is Occulus Rift and the Sony HMD device, which can basically do the same things, but with a different design and requirements.

PsyChronic
PsyChronic

I have a lot more interest in Occulus Rift than this...kinda looks like it needs more time in the oven.

R083R70
R083R70

If virtual reality is lucky in 20 years it may ride the hype-train like motion gaming did but once people get sick of the fad good ol' controller and tv/keyboard and monitor will be on top once more.


Seriously, virtual reality could get to a MGS level but gamers would still have to move around and for most that's not as relaxing as sitting on the couch, and even if it was you'd still have to have the skill, fitness, and gaming space needed to perform parallel with your ultra badass character (sure the game could compensate for you but only to an extent).


3D hardly deserves the time to be ridiculed, it's been around forever now and it's still nothing special and certainly not worth the money whether your consuming or developing technology to make it more mediocre.

frylock1987
frylock1987

I'm sure she will start to complain about the amount of work hours she would have to put in creating this thing, just like she complained about Valve and the work hours she had to put in there, while talking shit on Valve...hence why she is an EX-Valve employee.

freedom01
freedom01 moderator

the glasses on that image looks very cheap

Noonewarrior
Noonewarrior

To be honest VR and 3D is the future. Only problem is COST, people do not want to fork out huge amounts of money for the technology. My opinion if you have tech capable of 3D or VR the components should be incorporated, i.e. buy a TV with 3D the glasses should be free, buy a game that has VR capabilities the VR headset should be free.

wookiegr
wookiegr

Maybe I can just wear these around my house to trick my brain into thinking the place is clean and freshly painted in an exotic faux. I'll also need a pair for everyone that visits as well to fool them too.

DKRises
DKRises

So I haven't full read into it yet... but what is the difference between these and the OR? The OR is closed in a box while these appear to either have a shutter or see through. Do they perform the same thing though?

frylock1987
frylock1987

lol at everyone jumping on the "Im gonna make my own VR Headsets"

Get off the Oculus Rifts nuts already. Already over saturating the market with VR Kits that are not even out yet,...christ.

Butt_Chunx
Butt_Chunx

I can see Sheldon and the guys playing D&D with this. I would be more excited about this myself if I had a life.

malokevi
malokevi

Cool. I would prefer something that doesn't require a screen, though. I know MS has something in the works for late-gen XB1.

juboner
juboner

I was just on a x1 article and there was not one ps4 troll to be found what happened to them, is it something to do with the new gamespot?

neowarrior121
neowarrior121

i foresee MS sony or even value buying this if it shows the necessary results, there will be very rich people if they get it to work. 

LexLas
LexLas

Well they do have the pen projectors already, so this does not surprise me. The future looks bright, literally, lol ..

xsonicchaos
xsonicchaos

@RagnawindThe Sony HMD are just a pair of small 3d screens that function exactly like 3d glasses, but at a slightly less quality, but probably more immersive. Also, the price tag is ridiculous and what Sony wants to do is fool people into thinking they're virtual reality goggles, which they're not. I have nothing against Sony, I own a PS3 myself, but don't bring that piece of horsepoop into this.

On the other hand, I definitely agree with you and I honestly think this will flop worse than Virtual Boy.

decebal
decebal

@frylock1987 How about you start talking when you have something to contribute.

Daemoroth
Daemoroth

@Noonewarrior That's not an accurate comparison. If a game with VR capabilities should include a VR headset, that's more like saying any movie/bluray you buy with 3D should come with the 3D TV+glasses (Since the VR headset is the entire tool, same as the TV+glasses, the game/movie is merely content).

But as @zipoy said, the prices will come down. Look at 4K TV sets, they're already much cheaper than the first ones.

ziproy
ziproy

@Noonewarrior Blu-Ray and flat screens were the same way. The costs will go down, especially since there is now competition in the field

nyran125tk
nyran125tk

@frylock1987 encourage competition for everything. No competition means a garbage monopoly and a monopoly mostly means no innovation.

DamnILoveGames
DamnILoveGames

@frylock1987 Why is a little competition and giving people a choice a bad thing in this case? Besides, I don't see the rift projecting a game onto a table.

McGregor
McGregor

@Butt_Chunx This is the idea I had. I was thinking more along the lines of LARPing, which I told to a couple of co-workers that are into that. Basically, identify the battlefield and show damage/deaths/etc... real time. Basically have a network PC pushing the information out to all glasses depending on where you were looking, but D&D is a good starting point for that venture.

R083R70
R083R70

@DarkSaber2k @R083R70 I think that will probably happen (people like to give new things a shot and kid's need a place to go for birthday parties) but I think it's very very unlikely that it will ever take over the gaming scene at the home.

Noonewarrior
Noonewarrior

@Daemoroth @Noonewarrior like you said the game/movie is merely content, however to play those you need the TV / console. All im saying is if people make a game in a specific format i.e. 3D or for VR wouldn't you like it if that $5000 TV / $500 console came with the components to play that digital media. That way your targeting everyone to buy your media and not a selected few that has ampt of $$. Maybe I worded the last part wrong, it should have stated if you bought the VR headset the game should be free. 

All Im trying to say is a 3D TV should include glasses(not have to purchase them separately, and a VR headset shouldn't be worth more than $100 as you need a console to use them

frylock1987
frylock1987

@DamnILoveGames @frylock1987  No VR kit is projecting a game onto a table......

Bottom line, You wont see a fully functional virtual reality where you have full control without the use of a controller for atleast another 50 years. Why? Because we dont have the technology or resources.

PaperthinTV
PaperthinTV

@decebal ... yea now that I glance over it again. Sounds pretty crude now. 

decebal
decebal

@PaperthinTV @decebal @frylock1987 You guys are sarcastic right? Ellsworth contributes some new tech/ research to the world. This guys complained that she complained along Kim Swift on how Valve ain't that great. You guys don't actually call that a contribution do you?

Daemoroth
Daemoroth

@Noonewarrior I see what you're trying to say, and I agree that for VR to become successful they not only need to provide an awesome experience, they also need to do this without blowing people's budgets.

(MS is trying that with the XBox One by adding a Kinect camera in each box, to get it into every home so devs have a reason to do something decent with it).

Unfortunately it's not realistic to expect that for free. With 3D TVs 99% of the tech is in the TV, so comparing the 3D glasses to the whole VR headset is skewed.

Daemoroth
Daemoroth

@frylock1987 @DamnILoveGames And how do you think we get the technology or resources? By sitting around waiting for it to fall out of the f***ing sky?

You start with a basic idea, then iterate, expand, and incorporate new tech to improve it. TVs started in grey-scale, people didn't sit around until "suddenly" TVs landed and were in full colour with 3D HD tech (And now 4K) LED monsters. TV tech grew as people kept on trying to improve on the previous idea.