Ex Valve employees take augmented reality glasses to Kickstarter

Augmented reality glasses from the minds of two ex-Valve employees have made their way to Kickstarter. The duo’s product, the CastAR glasses, augment their wearer’s vision by projecting images onto a highly reflective surface, resulting in what looks to be 3D objects right within the real world. Through their new company, Technical Illusions, the pair is looking to raise $400,000 to finish development of the glasses, over $60,000 of which they’ve raised since launching the campaign earlier today.
The glasses have already gained some level of fame for coming from Jeri Ellsworth and Rick Johnson, both of whom were fired from Valve — a rare action at the legendary game studio. But the duo does have a product worth paying attention to. The glasses allow their wearer to move around the room while retaining their 3D effects, and they can even support multiple people using them while looking at the same reflective surface. By adding on an attachment, the glasses can also be used to augment their wearer’s field of vision even when they aren’t staring at a reflective display, and yet another mode covers their wearer’s entire field of vision for a virtual reality-style experience.
Technical Illusions is primarily marketing CastAR for its projected augmented reality though, despite the additional modes. While it could be used for playing video games too, the company’s Kickstarter video focuses on simpler experiences like Dungeons & Dragons, for which it might project dungeon walls and the health of different players.
The basic headset is being sold for $189 alongside a single reflective board, which is required for use. Other packages include a peripheral called the Magic Wand — a pointing device that can interact with the augmented environment. It may not immediately sound like the augmented reality of your dreams, but in the Kickstarter video, Ellsworth admits that with enough reflective surfaces, a lot more is possible. "If you really wanted to go crazy," she says, "you could even turn your entire room into a holodeck."