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By 2 February 2014 | Categories: news

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The latest Oculus Rift prototype virtual reality headset, Crystal Cove, may have wowed those attending this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, but they are certainly not the only virtual reality (VR) game in town.  

A startup in Washington state, Technical Illusions, also has its sights set on the futuristic technology, although its technology is aimed at offering users augmented reality, projected augmented reality and the totally immersive virtual reality from within one system. Nonetheless, according to VentureBeat, it may well give Oculus Rift a run for its money as users seek new and innovative ways to experience their games.

To start with, one reason Oculus Rift founders have reason to worry is that Technical Illusions is the brainchild of computer chip designer Jeri Ellsworth and former Activision, Gearbox and Valve Software employee Rick Johnson.

Yet another reason why the future looks bright for Technical Illusions is that the company has already met its Kickstarter campaign goal of $1 million.

“Help me, Obi-wan”

One of the notable features of Technical Illusions’ castAR system and 3D glasses is that it offers  projected augmented reality. According to the company, the 3D glasses are “designed to project the magic of gaming, true to life, before your eyes. You can walk around, interact with and see your games inserted into the real world in a realistic and stimulating way.”

Enabling this are two micro projectors attached to the glasses, which beam images from a Windows or Android device onto a transportable pad. Technical Illusions elaborated that this special retro-reflective pad bounces these beams back to the user’s face 120 times a second, enabling them to see images in three dimensions in clear HD 720p, with 24 bits of color. In a way, it seems evocative of the holographic message sent by Princess Leia to Obi-wan Kenobi in the first Star Wars movie.

Where the company’s tech differentiates itself though, is in addressing a problem some encounter with virtual reality, namely motion sickness. To this end, Technical Illusions reassured that their glasses will obviate this and cater to those who wear corrective lenses. Also worth noting is that these virtual reality/augmented reality glasses apparently weigh little more than normal sunglasses, at under 100 g, as well as easily fitting over prescription frames.

On the Move

Furthermore, Technical Illusions appears to have borrowed Sony’s Move controller concept, as its glasses can be accompanied by its Magic Wand.  The company explained that the Magic Wand is fully tracked in one’s physical space, allowing easy and natural interaction with users’ virtual worlds. The castAR glasses and system is expected to be available a little later this year.

To see the castAR system in action, point your eyes at the video below.

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