The Kickstarter community has spoken, and it wants augmented reality.
CastAR, the lightweight AR glasses developed by two former Valve hardware gurus, has completed its $400,000 campaign goal on Kickstarter in just 20 hours. As of this writing, the number has steadily grown to more than $416,000, with 29 days left to go.
Technical Illusions, the company made by former Valve employees Jeri Ellsworth and Rick Johnson, has already sent an update with a list of significant stretch goals for the device. Both of the goals are based on certain demo concepts displayed in the company’s video trailer.
The first, to be fulfilled if the campaign surpasses the $600,000 mark, is a customizable dungeon tiling tool with specialized wall, floor and obstacle tiles to be played via the company’s RFID tracking mat or proprietary wand controller. The goal is born out of Johnson’s own love for Dungeons and Dragons, and the decision to incorporate tabletop gaming aids into castAR demos has proven to be a selling point for D&D fans.
Second, if the company manages to raise money past the $800,000, some significant hardware additions will be added to the castAR setup: A built-in microphone will be added to help multiple players communicate with each other, even across an Internet connection, and a pair of earbuds will be added to create a “positional audio” experience. While this is the most expensive tier available for the castAR, it’s also arguably the most useful — players will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the AR or VR world of their choosing, without having to access a separate headset.
But above all else, castAR’s immediate success on Kickstarter makes it the likeliest candidate to become the next crowdfunded blockbuster. Joining the ranks of the Oculus Rift, the Ouya and the Pebble, the castAR has struck a chord with the community — roughly one in three backers have pledged for the $285 pro package. GIven it’s popularity, it’s likely that castAR will meet these reach goal marks — and maybe have some extra ones as the campaign continues.