Although they were let go from Valve earlier this year, Jeri Ellsworth and Rick Johnson didn’t want to abandon their work. The game developer had been experimenting with both augmented and virtual reality technology when it decided to bank on virtual reality, deemed a better fit for its products. But Ellsworth and Johnson were still excited about the potential of their augmented reality project. So Valve granted them legal permission to carry on with it, and the new technology — which they named castAR — made its prototype debut at this year’s Maker Faire in Rome.
Inspired by (What else?) Star Wars: Episode IV, CastAR is an augmented reality system that takes the form of glasses that project 3D holograms when pointed at a special LED-studded surface. Users can interact with the holograms and move around them — allowing for a number of potential applications. CastAR could spawn games that let players physically interact with the virtual environment, or it could find use in educational settings such as medical schools, providing a cost-efficient way for students to dissect the human body.
Ellsworth and Johnson launched a Kickstarter campaign this week to show off a more polished version of castAR and secure funding for production. As of this posting, the campaign is only a few thousand dollars short of its $400,000 goal — with 29 days left to go.
Watch castAR in action below:
Photo by Technical Illusions.