What happens with the physical world combines with the virtual world? The Kickstart castAR campaign is what! The device is said to be the most versatile augmented reality system that displays holographic-like 3D projections right in front of you. The idea for it came about after the inventors (Jeri Ellsworth and Rick Johnson) watched Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, when R2-D2 and Chewbacca were playing a holographic 3D chess-style game. Now 35 years later, they’ve made that 3D chess game a reality! Thanks to its fast and highly precise tracking solution, you can hold your 3D world in place while you are free to move around in it.
The castAR has two unique peripherals – the Magic Wand and the RFID Tracking Grid – that make it all possible. The Magic Wand is new kind of controller that lets users position things in space and control them with a joystick with one hand, while the RFID Tracking Grid allows users to uniquely identify, track, and augment physical objects (such as miniatures, cards, and board game pieces) across the surface. The castAR doesn’t need any calibration or adjustments since all you do is put on the glasses and experience your world in a whole new light!
It’s made of two main components, a pair of glasses and a surface with the frames of the glasses having two micro projectors (one for each eye). These projectors then cast a perspective view of a stereoscopic 3D image onto the surface with the camera between the projectors scans for infrared identification markers placed on the surface, which are used to track your head position in the physical world so that the software can adjust the 3D image that you’ll see. Then an HDMI connection sends a video signal to the glasses. There are currently several pledge packages for the castAR. The starter package goes for $189 and includes the glasses with a built-in tracking system and is supposed to be one’s entry point into the world of projected AR. Those who want to experience projected augmented reality, full virtual reality, and full augmented reality should opt for the pro package for $285 that comes with the glasses, large 1 meter by 2 meter surface, the Magic Wand, and the AR & VR Clip-On. Board game enthusiasts will love the pro board game package for $355 that brings to life your favorite games.