back to article Ex-Valve engineers raise begging bowl for 3D holographic-like goggles

Two former engineers from gaming giant Valve have launched a fundraiser for an ambitious holographic-like augmented-reality display technology. The KickStarter for the "castAR" technology was launched on Monday by Valve technologists Jeri Ellsworth and Rick Johnson, who are seeking funds to take their invention to market. The …

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Jeri is involved? It's going to be fun!

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Release valve

> Valve can't have been that impressed with the technology, as though it was developed at the company, an "opportunity presented itself" in early 2013 to let the two inventors acquire the tech and strike out on their own.

From what I can tell, this kind of thing just wasn't something Valve wanted to focus on. It seemed they were casting around for a while for really workable "next gen" ideas to drive them forward, hiring all sorts of people from all over the place. Then I guess they found the most appropriate avenue for the company, and decided to focus on a more traditional evolution of their current platform: Steam machines, etc.

So I don't think Valve's "rejection" of the idea implies that they didn't think it worthy enough, just that they didn't think it "Valve" enough.

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Terminator

Re: "next gen"

This time round the new consoles have left me yawning, same old same old, just more polygons. I had thought I was going to skip this generation....., but what's reawakened my interest in killing people, driving, killing people whilst driving, is the possibility of doing it in virtuality! The O.Rift looks really cool, and this augmented reality take on it looks equally so. We might finally get that sci-fi HUD vision going (the one google glass seems like it's failing to deliver).

I think the killer app would be a real world AG game..., get fit and kill people at the same time, what could be more fun?!

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Re: Release valve

Exactly...

Legend has it that the same thing happened to the IBM engineers who developed the xerographic process for photocopying. IBM was reportedly "disinterested" and the engineers left to form Xerox.

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Re: Release valve

I don't recall if that was how Xerox happened (and I'm too lazy to look it up, but it's certainly true, and it's reasonable. Every company has to evaluate opportunities and direction. There are limited resources, one of which is just 'focus'. If a grocery store chain comes up with a new shopping cart design, should they build it? Probably not - they don't have the expertise, the market presence in that business, or the factory. For Valve to make this a product would require them to become a different company. So perhaps they've kept some piece of the action, and perhaps they're helping these folks out at arm's length but that's as much as they should be doing.

As an alternate case in point that shows another risk - Microsoft's foray into making tablets and other hardware is reportedly encouraging HP to separate themselves from MS a bit - they now see MS as a competitor.

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Pointless comparison

The author seems to gloss over the fundamental incompatibility between Virtual Reality (Oculus Rift) and Augmented Reality (this device). They provide completely different functions, and a comparison between two such devices is not meaningful. AR devices are not suitable for traditional video games - hence Valve's lack of interest. VR devices are.

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What about those of us already wearing glasses?

Neat idea, but without sales there won't be much software using it and without much software using it...

It doesn't look like it would work for us.

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Re: What about those of us already wearing glasses?

Before anyone says it, yes, I know that there are some shots of people being given a couple of *minutes* demo via a 'hold this mask in front of your eyes / glasses' setup at the MakerFaire, but as anyone with glasses will tell you, having 3D glasses on top of your glasses for two *hours* in the cinema rarely goes well or comfortably...

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Re: What about those of us already wearing glasses?

I imagine it would only cost a few bob to get prescription lenses in front of or behind the device, e.g. with a bundled clip on frame that your local optician can put lenses in. My glasses only cost 18 quid with a deal on moneysavingexpert.com and they are a nice black frame by Bench, not the clunky NHS syle beloved by nonces and granny killers.

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Boffin

Re: What about those of us already wearing glasses?

Errm, why wouldn't you put lenses ground to your prescription in the castAR frames?

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Re: What about those of us already wearing glasses?

Contact lenses would seem to be the solution here.....

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Do you see this Apple?

Nope it isn't another lawsuit, it's something known as innovation! You used to be known for it?

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Toby is my Favourite member of the castAR team

Toby is a cat.

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A few points

Hi,

"The author seems to gloss over the fundamental incompatibility between Virtual Reality (Oculus Rift) and Augmented Reality (this device)."

Actually they have a clip on device w/ additional optics that let the CastAR do AR and VR (The VR addon was a secret until the kickstarter launch.)

I've also recieved assurances from glasses-sporting staff members that it is compatable with glasses.

You couldn't put your glasses lenses in the CastAR frames though since they're active lenses.

I'm super-excited about the project and like the 1st poster said with Jeri involved it's sure to be fun :)

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humph

I made up an 'oculus drift' myself back in 2010.

Basically I got a shoe box, fitted an iphone 4 in the end of it, and fitted it with several pairs of 1 quid reading glasses from poundland over the top of each other till I got the necessary diopter so that it appeared to be a massive TV in front of your eyes when strapped to your head.

It worked well for normal 2d content, and for 3d (split screen on the iphone), you just fitted a card in middle and your eyes adjusted and gave nice 3d image.

with the iphone accelerometers/gyros movement also worked well.

all my mates said it was a bloody stupid idea... and 'if it was that easy someone else will have done it'

hey ho.

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Re: humph

Some of us did this in 1991 ... better. (yawn)

http://www.amigahistory.co.uk/virtuality.html

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At last!

We can have the 3d animated chess set from the original Star Wars. I hope Jeri gets to work on a hover bike next.

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