CastAR

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CastAR
Castar1.jpg
Information
VR/AR Augmented Reality
Type Optical head-mounted display
Subtype Discrete HMD
Creator Jeri Ellsworth, Rick Johnson
Developer Technical Illusions
Requires PC
Predecessor None
Successor CastAR 2
Display 2 Micro-Projectors on top
Resolution 2560x720, 1280 x 720 per eye
Pixel Density  ??
Refresh Rate 120 Hz
Field of View 65° (horizontal)
Tracking 6DOF
Rotational Tracking Gyroscope, Magnetometer
Positional Tracking Tracking Camera
Update Rate Rotational: 1000 Hz, Positional: 120 Hz
Latency Tracking: 8.3ms
Input Wand Controller, RFID tags
Connectivity HDMI, USB
Weight Less than 100g
Release Date November 21, 2014.
Price $400
Website Technical Illusions Website

castAR is an Augmented Reality head-mounted display developed by Technical Illusions. Similar to other AR Devices, castAR projects 3D renderings onto physical surfaces. To create 3D imageries on top of physical objects, the glasses-like device uses 2 micro-projectors to cast stereoscopic images onto a retro-reflective surface. The images bounce from the retro-reflective surface back onto the user's eyes, creating 3D, holographic-like images floating on the surface. A built-in camera, along with sensors, tracks the movements and the positions of your head. Additionally, an AR/VR clip-on can be placed onto the glasses to create an immersive Virtual Reality experience. castAR's Kickstarter Campaign began on October 14, 2013 and raised 1,052,110 dollars out of its initial goal of 400,000 dollars.

Hardware

Glasses

The Glasses has two high-res micro projectors on top of its lenses. The projectors cast stereoscopic images onto a retro-reflective surface. Each projector refreshes at 120 Hz with very high fill factor. This means that the users will not experience any screen door effect. The glasses fit over most prescription glasses.

In the center of the glasses is a tracking camera. The camera is able to track at 120 Hz with low latency. The camera along with the Gyroscope and Magnetometer within the glasses enable the user to have 6 degrees of freedom.

AR and VR Clip-on

The AR/VR Clip-on allows the user to transform the glasses from a Augmented Reality centric device into a Virtual Reality centric one. When the clip-on is attached to the glasses, the light from the projects are bounced back into your eyes. The retro-reflective surface is not used. It turns the glasses into a head-mounted display similar to many other VR Devices.

Retro-Reflective Surface

The retro-reflective surface consist of rectangular mats that can be placed on any flat surface such as a table. The surface reflects images generated by the projectors back to the glasses, creating for stereoscopic 3D imageries. It also eliminates cross-talk between projectors so only each wearer of the glasses sees only his or her own images.

Wand Controller

Magic Wand is a controller and 3D input device for castAR. The device tracks its own position in the 3D space and is able to interact with digital objects. It has a analog stick, buttons and a trigger.

RFID Tracking Grid

RFID Tracking Grid can be placed beneath the retro-reflective surface. It allows the user to identify and track Bases and other objects with RFID tags. Objects such as cards, figurines and miniatures can be identified and augmented with various stats and abilities.

Bases

Bases are RFID tags that can be placed under pre-existing miniatures. It can be snapped onto the bottom of most standard sized miniatures. Bases allow the miniatures to be identified and tracked when they are on top of the RFID Tracking Grid.

There are 2 types of bases: RFID and RFID Precision. RFID allows the user to identify and roughly track the miniatures. RFID Precision allows to identification and precision tracking. Additionally, RFID Precision possess a custom circuit board that allows two-way communication. It allows you to control small motors and other electronics within the miniatures.

Specifications

Part Spec
Display 2 Micro-Projectors on top
Resolution 2560x720, 1280 x 720 per eye
Refresh Rate 120 Hz
Field of View 65° (horizontal)
90° with Clip-On
Tracking 6 degrees of freedom
Rotational Tracking Gyroscope, Magnetometer
Positional Tracking Tracking Camera
Update Rate Rotational: 1000 Hz
Positional: 120 Hz
Latency Tracking: 8.3ms
Connectivity USB, HDMI
Input Wand Controller, RFID tags
Weight less than 100 grams
Retro-Reflective Surface 1 meter by 1 meter

Setup Tutorial

Apps

Early demonstrations and advertisements shown that castAR can be used to play video games and tabletop games, browse the web and interact with various types of information.

Developer

CastVR SDK

CastVR SDK

History

castAR began began in the hardware lab of Valve Software in May 2012. Jeri Ellesworth discovered a retro-reflective material that can reflect light back. She realized that the material can be used as a surface to project images onto. Jeri created the first prototype for castAR called "Head Crab". It has 2 phone-sized displays attached to a head-mount. Rick Johnson began working on the software component of the AR project in August 2012.

In early 2013, Jeri and Rick left Valve and acquired the technology with them. They formed Technical Illusions and began working on castAR by themselves.

castAR's Kickstarter Campaign began on October 14, 2013 and raised 1,052,110 dollars by its end on September 14, 2013. Backers who contribute $189 or more will receive a castAR as part of their backer reward.

On November 21, 2014, the first shipment of castAR was shipped to Kickstarter backers on November 21, 2014.

On August 19, 2015, castAR receives 15 million dollars in venture capital from Andy Rubin's Playground Global and other investors. Rubin is the creator of Android.


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