November 29, 2013
Smart devices . . . smart devices everywhere.
With all the talk of smart glasses and smart watches and smart bras one can’t help but wonder what might happen to their predecessor: smart phones. Sure, phones have been around for years and having the most advanced, smartest phone is possibly the most technologically trendy device a person could own. But something designed specifically for your hands can’t be used anywhere else . . . could it?
A New Challenger Approaches . . .
This time let go of your conscious self and act on instinct.
Meet Xcope, the Virtual & Augmented Reality Headset for Smartphones designed by Xyson Labs. Xcope is a headset specifically designed for smartphones to create an immersive augmented or virtual reality experience with just your smartphone.
Borrowed a little visual.
Xcope works by slipping your smart phone into a fitted slit which goes over your eyes much like a pair of goggles. Your field of vision is limited to whatever you can see on your device: game, movie, video, whatever you’re engaged with. The monoscope optics give a theater-like feel with a lens designed to improve screen size and quality making it great for watching shows or using AR channels (*Junaio*). The stereoscope optics separates the your eyes’ vision and shifts their perspectives slightly to create 3-D images for 3-D movies and virtual reality. Add a bluetooth controller or another input device and you’re set for a full VR experience.
Unlike Google Glass, castAR and other smart glasses technologies, Xcope takes an already powerful, widely used technology – smart phones – and adapts them for similar results. Of course there are obvious drawbacks but unlike other phone headsets, Xcope is specifically designed for developers so they can eventually take the technology where they want, especially for the stereoscopic fitting. Imagine adding eye tracking, bluetooth controllers and head motion sensitive tracking to your favorite game and suddenly you’ve got developers doing something even more amazing. Interested? Check out their website and Kickstarer page for more information.
Double, double toil and trouble.
October 31, 2013
Back in my day we had sticks. Two sticks and a rock for the whole platoon — and we had to share the rock!
The world of augmented reality continues to grow and evolve as more and more players throw in their ideas and inventions into the market. Today we’re going to highlight a system that many of us here at Metaio are excited to see in action: castAR by Technical Illusions.
You know our motto! “We deliver!”
What is castAR?
CastAR, developed by former Valve employees Jeri Ellsworth and Rick Johnson, is a projection-based augmented reality system that uses two micro-projectors to cast dim images that reflect off a retroreflective material. The retroreflective material (similar to what you see on safety jackets and road signs) is constructed to reduce light scattering so the image you send bounces straight back to you even if there are multiple castARs aimed at the same location. This also means that multiple systems can look at the same space and receive unique perspectives based on where they are projecting from.
Cool, got some technical speak for me?
The optimal design. Almost there!
No. Okay, maybe a little. CastAR is equipped with standard-definition projectors that provide 45 degrees of viewing with plans to implement HD (720p) projectors for 60 degrees of viewing or more. The game itself is run on a computer that castAR communicates through with USB or HDMI/DVI and uses package structures of 72 bytes per frame (really not much of a mouthful). There is also a tracking camera that refreshes at a rate of 120 hertz making it more than capable of following your movements with sub-millimeter accuracy.
Sounds pretty good to me, what else do you know?
For now castAR is in prototype mode. Jeri and Rick have shown some working models at the Maker Faire 2013 in San Francisco and New York. They recently started a Kickstarter campaign that has already successfully raised over $500,000 in a week, surpassing their original goal of $400,000 in a single day! As the campaign continues its success they’ve added two stretch goals: customizable tile mappers and (even more hopefully) positional audio for headphones and an integrated mic. We look forward to everything Jeri and Rick have planned (which hopefully includes a few games of D&D). Be sure to check out their website, Kickstarter, and the video below for more information.
I think we’re just getting started.