3D Vision Blog

A normal user's look into the world of 3D Stereo Technologies

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castAR is a New AR and VR System Project on Kickstarter

October 31st, 2013 · No Comments · 3D / AR / VR / HMD

castAR is a projected augmented reality system that displays holographic-like 3D projections right in front of you inspired by Star Wars’ holographic depictions. It is another alternative to Head Mounted Displays that allows you to bring you augmented reality and virtual reality experience in a compact and lightweight glasses-type of product. What differs the castAR system from HMD devices like the Oculus Rift is that instead of an LCD display it relies on micro projectors that project the light on retro-reflective material. You also get head tracking and additional controllers such as a “magic wand” and objects using RFID tags that allow you to interact with real objects in augmented reality. And another great thing is that you get stereoscopic 3D support as a part of the experience that is possible thanks to the use of dual micro projectors. Think for example about a board game going digital and multiplayer over the Internet, this could be a great use for this system and probably that was the general idea behind the design of that concept. As we all know the problem with projects such as castAR is that they are so different from the traditional display devices that you need to have games specially designed to be played with them and that takes some time, so even with the project already funded and reaching its original goal the announced shipping date for the hardware is September 2014 and even by then the software for castAR probably is not going to be that much. Have in mind that castAR is primary designed around the concept of Augmented Reality and not Virtual Reality, so it will probably be much better for AR than VR experience.

To tell you the truth I was not as excited about castAR as when Oculus Rift Kickstarter project launched, at least not before the announcement that castAR will be supported by the Vireio Perception open source driver. This means that when the first public build of version 2.0 gets released on November 28th it should already have support for the castAR system, thus allowing you to play existing games in a virtual reality environment with head tracking and stereoscopic 3D functionality when the castAR system comes out next year. This is great news and I’m also expecting to see how the the Vireio Perception 2.0 will perform with Oculus Rift as it is still the only free and open source solution for “converting” games that were not designed for the Rift to be played on the HMD. The other two available solutions are commercial products – DDD TriDef (only in beta) and vorpX, though I will not be surprised to see TriDef also getting support for castAR in the near future.

castAR’s projected augmented reality system is comprised of two main components: a pair of glasses and a surface. The frames of the glasses contain two micro-projectors—one for each eye. Each projector casts a perspective view of a stereoscopic 3D image onto the surface. Your eyes focus on this projected image at a very natural and comfortable viewing distance. A tiny camera in-between the projectors scans for infrared identification markers placed on the surface. The camera uses these markers to precisely track your head position and orientation in the physical world, enabling the software to accurately adjust how the holographic scene should appear to you. The glasses get their video signal through an HDMI connection. The camera is connected via a USB port on the PC.

The surface is made of retro-reflective sheeting material, similar to the kind used in traffic signs and high-visibility safety clothing. The primary benefit to using this material is that it bounces the majority of light from our projectors directly back toward the glasses with very little scattering. This enables the simultaneous use of a single surface by multiple people while keeping each viewer’s view private from the others.

Since your vision is focused at a natural viewing distance, you shouldn’t experience eye strain. Projected augmented reality allows you to simultaneously see both virtual and real-world surroundings, so you are spared other sorts of discomfort as well. For example, an important aspect of your body’s understanding of the physical world is tied to your inner ear—the part of your body responsible for balance and motion sensing. When you are able to see your physical world, your eyesight and inner ear will stay in sync with your movements. Most people do not feel nausea or motion sickness when using castAR and projected augmented reality.

For more information about the castAR project on Kickstarter…

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The First Oculus Rift Developer Kits May Start Shipping Tomorrow

March 17th, 2013 · No Comments · 3D / AR / VR / HMD


The good news is that the first batch of Oculus Rift developer kits may finally start shipping to Kickstarter backers this Monday, the not so good news is that there will not be a Doom 3 BFG Edition copy supporting the Rift bundled as it was previously announced. The reason for that is that DOOM 3 BFG Edition will not support the Rift development kit by the time the kits begin shipping. So instead the team at Oculus is offering a few alternative options in the form of replacement awards instead of DOOM 3 BFG.

Replacement Rewards:

– $20 Steam Wallet credit, perfect for buying your next game on Steam (including DOOM 3 BFG Edition without Rift developer kit support if you still want it).
– $25 Oculus Store credit, which can be applied to future purchases at the Oculus Store including Oculus Latency Testers, new Oculus t-shirts, and more Rift development kits.
– A full refund for your pledge.

You’ll need to choose your new reward by logging into the Oculus Order Manager. Codes for the replacement rewards will be delivered in April. You’ll default to the Oculus Store credit if you don’t make a selection by April 5. Also while in the ORder Manager make sure you have an up to date address for delivery and change it if needed.

Now, since Doom 3 BFG Edition with Rift support probably will not be ready by the time the dev kits start reaching people the question what you will test the device with arises. The Oculus team suggests that the game Hawken might be ready with support for the Rift by that time, but we’ll see. Hopefully along with the Dev Kits we are also going to get access to the SDK, so even without games out to support it we could start playing with the device, though there was not word about that in the latest update.

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Tiger Cam, a Kickstarter Project for a 3D Microscope

November 13th, 2012 · No Comments · General 3D News

Tiger Cam might not be as revolutionary and as interesting as the Oculus Rift for everyone, but it is still something to take a look at if you are interested in all things stereoscopic 3D. Tiger Cam is a stereo 3D microscope using two 720p CMOS camera sensors to provide you with a seriously zoomed up view (roughly 100 times zoom on a 30-inch TV) of the object you are looking at with the device. Lately the USB digital microscope products are becoming widely available and very affordable, so why not have a nifty gadget like that being able to output stereo 3D image and not just 2D? This is pretty much the idea behind the Tiger Cam, though currently the impression that the device leaves is that it is intended to be used more like a fun toy by kids.

It is interesting to note that the Tiger Cam 3D microscope is designed to use its own pair of universal active 3D shutter glasses that can be used with pretty much any TV set (no need to have a 3D HDTV), including even older CRT TVs. This means that the you’ll be getting half of the TV’s framerate per eye, which should be enough as you will not be having much of a movement when using a microscope anyway, that is if this works out well enough. I’d love to see an HDMI 1.4 version or a USB version that is also capable of recording the 3D images on a PC easily as this may help in moving the product further away of the “toy”-type of product to something that might be interesting for grownups as well. If you like the idea and want to support the Kickstarter project for the Tiger Cam 3D microscope you are welcome to do so, with a $99 USD pledge you can get one of the first Tiger Cams to hit the market maybe sometime in may next year if the project fulfills the set goal of $160K USD which is still far off.

For more information about the Tiger Cam 3D microscope project at Kickstarter…

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