CastAR – An Oculus Competitor

I think it is safe to say that augmented reality and virtual reality devices are here to stay and are no longer just something that you would find only at a nerds house – everyone wants one now. Even my friends, who are far from being tech enthusiasts, would love to get their hands on an augmented reality device, or even a pair of smart glasses. There is a small selection of devices that you can choose from, but that selection is growing every day as new projects go and come out of development.

One of the devices that is currently available for preorder and has a lot of people excited is castAR. CastAR is a bundle of different technologies that allows you to see projected augmented reality. CastAR consists of glasses that you wear, a surface, a tracking camera, and a 3D input device.

The glasses have two micro-protectors, one for each eye. Each of the projectors casts out a stereoscopic 3D image on to the surface. The surface is a special material called retro-reflective, and is designed to bounce light back without any scattering. This allows the wearer of the glasses to see a crisp image, while people looking from the side will barely see an image at all.

The glasses also have a tiny camera that tracks infrared LEDs. This is so that the hardware knows the position of where you are in the physical world and allows the computer to update the visuals as you move around them. CastAR also has a 3D input device called a “magic wand”, which allows you to interact with the augmented environment.

There are also two different clip-ons for the glasses as well. There is an augmented reality clip-on and a virtual reality clip-on. The virtual reality clip-on provides a fully synthesized environment for you to enjoy like oculus rift. The AR clip-on provides you with a normal smart glass experience.

Here is a video about CastAR which shows a little of the augmented reality capabilites:

The idea for the device came from Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope where R2-D2 and Chewbacca were playing a 3D chess-style game. So, the end goal was something similar to that. It’s not hard to imagine what is possible with this device. Moving virtual board game pieces, interacting with a virtual landscapes, seeing virtual stats about certain things, all that is possible and more. You can even fly a virtual plane:

CastAR seems to be mostly targeted towards gamers, but like the video above said, there are a ton of uses for a device like this whether it be in gaming, education, or even in the work field. It’s not exactly limited to one market, even though it was created by gamers.

CastAR is available for preorder with a wide variety of packages. The most basic package starts at $200 and goes all the way up to the Group package which costs $765. You can view all the packages, and available addons here. You can also take a peek at the Kickstarter page for more indepth details about the hardware.

So, what are impressions of the castAR system? Would you ever buy something like this, or have you preorderedcastAR? Please share your thoughts with us in the comment section down below.