Back in February, Valve fired approximately 25 employees. Two of those employees were Jeri Ellsworth and Rick Johnson, who were working on an augmented reality headset project at the company. Due to Valve boss Gabe Newell's generosity, Ellsworth and Johnson were allowed to leave the company with ownership of their project.
Today, Ellsworth and Johnson have turned to Kickstarter to bring their product to the market. castAR is a 3D AR & VR headset.
"castAR is a projected augmented reality system that displays holographic-like 3D projections right in front of you," states the Kickstarter page. "Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope sparked our imaginations of what might be possible in the future by showing R2-D2 and Chewbacca playing a holographic 3D chess-style game. It has taken nearly 35 years since the film was released for this technological dream to come to reality, but with castAR, that reality can be yours."
The castAR will come with the glasses, an AR & VR clip (one that allows the glasses to display true VR and AR without an additional head mount), a tracking camera, an RFID tracking grid, and a magic wand that functions as a joystick and 3D input device.
On the software side, developers will access the castAR software development kit, unity integration, and demo projects. There's a possibility that castAR will have additional engine support as well as support for existing VR applications.
castAR is asking for only $400,000, though it seems likely they'll raise the price over that amount. At the time of this article, the project's already raised $230,000.