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Former Valve engineers launch Kickstarter for 3D AR and VR headset

Former Valve engineers Jeri Ellsworth and Rick Johnson launched a Kickstarter campaign this morning for the CastAR, a 3D augmented and virtual reality headset.

The CastAR is a pair of lightweight glasses that will project 3D images onto reflective surfaces. This produces a hologram, as shown in the demonstration video posted below, which players can interact with using a stick controller called the Magic Wand. The Magic Wand can be used to position and control things in the augmented reality space, and the scene players see will move with their line of site thanks to the headset's built-in head tracking. The headset can be used as a virtual reality device by attaching an additional piece over the top of the glasses.

"Star Wars: Episode 4 — 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," reads the campaign page. "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 also offers several options for potential developers. A CastAR software development kit allows access to tracking data and rendering matrixes, as well as Unity integration. Developers purchasing the CastAR will also receive a set of game demos. The page adds that support for other engines and existing VR applications is currently being discussed.

According to a tweet from Ellsworth, the CastAR has been in development for the past 18 months. Backers who pledge $189 or higher will receive a CastAR kit as part of their backer reward.

The pair are asking for $400,000, which will be used to fine-tune the hardware and make the headset more aesthetically pleasing for retail. At the time of writing, the project has gained just over $36,000.

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