Kickstarter has been a real boon to indie developers. It allowed the Ouya to get funded ; it brought Keiji Inafune back to the world of 2D platformers ; and it infamously let Double Fine work on a brand new adventure game . Now, we are seeing even more success on Kickstarter through the recently successful castAR glasses .
These glasses, made by former Valve employees Jeri Ellsworth and Rick Johnson, are a combination of an augmented-reality system and a 3D VR system. Basically, the glasses project flat holograms onto lenses that differ a bit for each eye, producing a stereoscopic effect. Essentially, it allows 3D holograms to be effectively overlayed on the actual 3D world.
The glasses come with two peripherals that help it to operate. The “Magic Wand’ is a pointer-like device that the glasses track in order to detect your own arms position in the virtual 3D world. It allows you to reach out and manipulate holographic objects as though they were real. The second peripheral, an RFID Tracking Grid will recognize specific RFID game pieces like cards or board game pieces.
While the gaming applications of the new glasses are numerous, other applications also have backers excited. The glasses are, essentially, a more comprehensive 3D version of the Google Glass. Imagine if your GPS coordinates could be overlayed over the real world that you are driving in. Imagine if looking at someone could instantly give you a holographic readout of their facebook feed. Imagine if looking at a game in a store gives you price comparisons and reviews, all in holographic space. Geez we are living in the future!
The castAR glasses reached their funding goal in a little under two days, raising over $400,000 dollars from over 1,700 backers. It’s all stretch goals from here. At $600,000, a new “dungeon tiling tool” will be created that allows you to make your own dungeons using the RFID tracking grid. If the campaign manages to reach $800,000, the glasses will be given a microphone and earbuds. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a stretch goal to make the glasses look less goofy.