13.11.13

Projector specs mix AR and VR

AUTHOR: Inavate

Wearable technology has taken a step in a new direction with the emergence of an augmented reality system which utilises mini-projectors in a pair of spectacles. castAR is a favourite on the fundraising website Kickstarter and is widely tipped to be technology that will see its way into production over the next year.

Creators Technical Illusion claim to also offer an attachment that transforms castAR into a true virtual reality system as well as a true augmented reality system.

Aside from the obvious gaming applications, the system could find uses in the field of design or education.

The castAR works by the two micro-projectors - one for each eye - casting a perspective view of a stereoscopic 3D image onto a surface made of retro-reflective sheeting material. The user’s eyes focus on this projected image at a natural viewing distance and a tiny camera in-between the projectors scans for infrared identification markers placed on the surface.

The camera uses these markers to precisely track the user’s head position and orientation in the physical world, enabling the software to accurately adjust how the holographic scene should appear to them. The glasses get their video signal through an HDMI connection. The camera is connected via a USB port on the PC.

To bridge the gap between the physical world and the virtual world, castAR creators Rick Johnson and Jeri Ellsworth designed two peripherals, a Magic Wand and the RFID Tracking Grid.

The Magic Wand allows users to position things in space and control them with a joystick, all with one hand. The RFID Tracking Grid allows them to uniquely identify, track, and augment physical objects (such as miniatures, cards, and board game pieces) across the surface.

The special surface is made of similar material to high-visibility safety clothing, with the primary benefit that it bounces the majority of light from our projectors directly back toward the glasses with very little scattering. This enables the simultaneous use of a single surface by multiple people while keeping each viewer's view private from the others.

For more information visit castAR's Kickstarter page.