Basically, you have projectors mounted to your head, and a headset that tracks your movement and projects the view you’d see in the alternate reality universe onto the real universe. Here’s the really clever part though: they cover parts of the room with an inexpensive retroreflective cloth (similar to shiny biking gear) that reflects your projector’s image crisply and clearly back to your own eyes, but not to anyone else’s. This means multiple people can be projecting onto the same place, and still each see only their own views in a clear and convincing stereo image.
We were very impressed by how well it works. It really feels like you are looking at objects on the table. You can still see your hands and everything else in the ‘real’ world in front of you as well, so it’s easy to want to grab the objects virtually sitting on the table in front of you.
The castAR can also pick up cues from little infrared LED’s embedded in the scene. This means that you can actually move your whole body around and look at the virtual objects from different angles.
The current field of view leaves something to be desired and the example demos so far are uninteresting, but the technology is there. It’s going to be very convincing once some good applications are made that take advantage of having an entire alternate universe sitting on the table in front of you that can be seen and manipulated by multiple people in the room.
Most amazingly, you can look at other humans! This seems basic, but it’s amazing how much it’s been trained out of me, having worked primarily in VR for so long. I had to actively remind myself that I was able to look away from the 3d architectural model sitting on the table and look at people when we talk. Each time, it felt like I was cheating somehow. Magic!
Also magic, because you can see the real world around you, none of us experienced any motion sickness (and some of us are quite sensitive to that in VR).
Technical Illusions has a video where you can see it in action, and there’s also some footage from our visit in the beginning of Emily’s latest vlog.
– The eleVR Team