GDC Next Hands On With castAR The New AR/VR Kickstarter

castAR-Kickstarter

By now we’ve all heard of Oculus Rift, but how many of us have caught wind of castAR? We cover a ton of Kickstarter projects here on iGR, and I hadn’t caught wind of the goal crushing AR/VR headset until my hands on time with it here at GDC Next. I read a bit about the crew prior to heading over to their booth, but I wasn’t fully prepared for the experience at hand. I was very surprised to see how well the prototype AR glasses the team at Technical Illusions put together performed.

I managed to demo the Unity Live demo Angry Bots as well as Star Wars Chess. The crew at Technical Illusions mentioned that they had the Angry Bots demo up and running in under five minutes, which speaks volumes to the agility of their product.

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If you’re unfamiliar with AR/VR as I generally am, I’ll give you a brief explanation of what’s going on under the hood. The hands-on demo was complete with head-mounted AR glasses, a projection area, and a trio of LED sensors that assisted the glasses with head tracking and POV orientation. I was equally surprised to see former Valve employee Jeri Ellsworth literally float additional projection surfaces in my periphery and extend the displays effortlessly.

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When playing Star Wars Chess my POV was truly table-top in nature. Each chess piece effectively floating 3 inches from the surface of the virtual table. This created a truly interactive feel where I could literally see my hands inhabiting the same space as the game pieces. I was also keen to see the guts of the device, and Jeri was more than happy to oblige, I was overly impressed with the design simplicity of the device and when I heard the BOM (bill of manufacturing) I was floored. It seems that Jeri was able to unlock a hidden feature of cell phone cameras to allow for tracking support. All in all I walked away captivated by the experience, and I wasn’t the only one. Technical Illusions has a busy GDC Next ahead of them if early demo lines are any indication.

Did I mention that the product is now funding on Kickstarter? You can head over to their campaign page to learn even more about castAR, and pledge your monies of course!

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Dylan Zellmer

Dylan splits time between games journalism, designing video games, and playing them. Outside of his deep involvement in the games industry, he enjoys It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Shameless, A Song of Ice and Fire, fitness, and family.
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