Former Valve inventor Jeri Ellsworth takes AR/VR glasses to Kickstarter

Monday, 14th October 2013 15:01 GMT By Dave Cook

CastAR is the new augmented and virtual reality glasses tech from ex-Valve inventor Jeri Ellsworth and former colleague Rick Johnson. The device has now appeared on Kickstarter with both creators looking for funding to the tune of $400,000.

At the time of writing the CastAR funding page has raised $25,881 with 31 days to go.

The idea is that castAR projects holographic-like 3D images in front of the user, and the idea has been likened to the fantasy of a hologram chess game seen in Star Wars: A New Hope.

The Kickstarter descriptor explains that the glasses are capable of both tracking AR markers and displaying VR like Oculus Rift. It adds, “One primary concern we kept in mind when developing the castAR system was how to bridge the gap between the physical world and the virtual world. We accomplished this through the use of two unique peripherals: the Magic Wand and the RFID Tracking Grid.

“The Magic Wand is new kind of controller that lets you position things in space and control them with a joystick, all with one hand. The RFID Tracking Grid allows you to uniquely identify, track, and augment physical objects (such as miniatures, cards, and board game pieces) across the surface.

“Another goal we have is to make castAR a comfortable and enjoyable experience for a wide audience. The final retail glasses are expected to weigh less than 100 grams, which is only slightly heavier than a pair of sunglasses. If you wear prescription glasses, castAR was designed to sit easily on the outside of them.”

The castAR device is being developed with PC in mind, and the Technical Illusions group is also considering mobile options. It’s also compatible with Unity’s AR functionality, which will come with the glasses free of charge, alongside its SDK.

The buy-in pledge for a pair of castAR glasses is $189. There’s an estimated September 2014 delivery date attached.

Check out the video at the link above and let us know what you think.

Via Eurogamer.



  1. DSB

    Grumpy Cat says NO.

    #1 11 months ago
  2. selderane

    Interesting. Had I not just put $250 on a new “Star Citizen” tier, I’d be tempted.

    #2 11 months ago
  3. KineticCalvaria

    @2, $250?! On a game… not to mention one that isn’t even out. Christ.

    #3 11 months ago
  4. DSB

    Wow, respect. I thought I was bad when it came to crowdfunding, but I’ve funded five succesful Kickstarters in the last month and I’m still not hitting 250.

    Now I feel a little less guilty :P

    #4 11 months ago
  5. fearmonkey

    Jeri is awesome and it’s worth supporting her. She created a Commodore 64 bass guitar, one of the coolest things ever.

    #5 11 months ago
  6. selderane

    @4 What I’ve put toward “Star Citizen” (and it’s more than $250 – that’s just my tier; I own four other ships on top of the one that comes with it) is not anywhere close what I’ve seen others give. I’ve seen a number of people put in well over $1000. One so much as over $3000.

    When sci-fi flight sim fans say, “Take my money!” we’re not joking.

    How do you think think the game keeps gaining million dollar stretch goals every week or so? :-P

    #6 11 months ago
  7. Pytox

    @6 insanity and beyond

    #7 11 months ago
  8. freedoms_stain

    I don’t want this.

    I can’t think of a singe thing I’d want to do with this.

    #8 11 months ago
  9. selderane

    @7 We have punch and pie.

    #9 11 months ago
  10. fuchikoma

    Jeri is awesome. Had no idea she’d worked with Valve… I think head-mounted projectors would be supremely obnoxious to other people in the same room, and I could see some really messed up projections occurring if 2 people tried to look at the same 3D object if both, or even either projector was running. Still, you discover by trying, and maybe something better will come of this!

    #10 11 months ago
  11. Stardog

    $211k already. Pretty good.

    #11 11 months ago
  12. ctankep

    Hope she does ok –
    Bit spent after th’ STEM Kickstarter though.
    3rd party support / integration is where it’s at.

    #12 11 months ago

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