Former Valve employees' augmented reality projector castAR Kickstarted after two days

Ian Birnbaum

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Like all the really great things in geekdom, it began with Star Wars . Former Valve employees Jeri Ellsworth and Rick Johnson have come up with a way to bring that holoprojected chess match between R2D2 and Chewbacca, Dejarik , a reality, and the solution is castAR: augmented reality projecting glasses. After 18 months of prototyping, Ellsworth and Johnson have launched a Kickstarter campaign to finish production.

“The castAR glasses create their holograph-like images by using two microprojectors that reside on the glasses,” Ellsworth says in the video. “Each projector shines a portion of the 3D image to the surface. Your eyes are focusing at a natural distance, making it a very comfortable experience without having any motion sickness or other side effects.”

Combined with a highly reflective projection surface, Ellsworth and Johnson show a lot of possible applications for castAR in games. The augmented reality projection shows an overhead view of tanks in an RTS-like game and a great view of dogfighting biplanes. With the help of motion tracking control wands, they also finally get to play that game of Dejarik. By adding a virtual reality clip-on addition, you'll be able to use the glasses as a smaller, lighter Oculus Rift –style VR headset with no need for a projection surface.

A starter package with glasses and a projection surface will set you back $189. As of this writing, the campaign has just passed its $400,000 goal, but there are still 29 days left to go if you want in on the first round of castAR glasses.

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