A while back we brought to your attention the new CastAR Glasses, a set of augmented reality glasses that were put together by two former Valve employees who did not want to let their top secret project go. Well the glasses that we saw back in May are finally ready to be funded, and they’ve come a long way since the prototype we saw those many months ago. Introducing the new and improved CastAR Glasses, by Technical Illusions.
The first thing we can see about the glasses is that they’re much lighter and sleeker than the prototype design. This is common among these kinds of devices, but it is still a very welcome improvement. The prototype of the headset was made up of a couple of small projectors, a camera, and a retroreflective surface dotted with LED lights. The new design for the glasses still includes those things, but it also includes an addition in the form of a small clip-on device that allows the headset to be transformed into a set of true augmented reality glasses without using the retroreflective surface, or they can also be changed into a set of full virtual reality glasses, similar to headsets like the Oculus Rift.
The way that the glasses work is that there are two tiny projectors mounted in the glasses that shine onto a reflective surface that the wearer is looking at. A small camera is also present, and it scans infrared LED markers on the reflective surface, which essentially allows for the glasses to adjust properly when the wearer turns his or her head. The glasses are connected via HDMI, and the camera via USB.
There are a number of ways that the CastAR were able to be slimmed down and made to be a lot lighter. For example, many of the glass elements were able to be replaced with thinner, lighter plastic films. The circuit board was also replaced with thinner flex circuits. In total the device was brought down to under 100 grams.
Not only was the device slimmed down, but it was also made to be much better as far as power consumption goes. The device also features a 720p display, which is a far better resolution than the prototype had.
The device also comes with what they’re calling a “Magic Wand” which can be used as a joystick for gaming, or a 3D input device. The Magic Wand will feature buttons for additional controls in its final version.
The basic package for the CastAR glasses will cost you $189, and is available from the Kickstarter. The pro package, which comes with the AR/VR attachment will set you back $285. Or you could go all out, and buy a hand built prototype, costing $10,000.