In Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (the one from 1977), there is a classic scene where the droid R2-D2 is playing a holographic 3-D chess-style game with Chewbacca. In the scene, we learn to let Wookies win — their temper is such that they will rip your arms off if they lose.
This memorable scene is what inspired the creators of castAR to make such technology a reality. Sure, 3-D movies are always an option at our local movie theater and our handheld devices have the ability to play games with augmented reality (the camera phone is used to create backdrop/environment). But how about a 3-D, augmented and virtual reality game? When inventor Jeri Ellsworth and game developer Rick Johnson of Technical Illusions put their castAR project on Kickstarter, the thirst for this kind entertainment technology was made immediately obvious: $250,000 was pledged on the first day alone.
The castAR system, dubbed “the most versatile AR & VR system” on Technical Illusions' Kickstarter page, brings the hologram technology from the Star Wars movies into the real world. This innovative system could be the future of table top board games while creating new video gaming opportunities with the combination of 3-D, AR, and VR technology.
While wearing the light-weight castAR glasses, micro-projectors at the top of each lens project an image onto a uniquely reflective screen. Like your average projector screen, it can be put on a wall, table top, and then rolled up when you’re done pretending you just owned Chewbacca at holo-chess. Since the projectors are on the lenses themselves, the glasses come equipped with tech to track your every movement at a really fast speed. Add a “Magic Wand” controller and a tracking grid for figurine interaction (similar to the Skylanders series) to complete the castAR experience in its current stage.
CastAR brings so much to the table, no pun intended. The video presentation online shows an old-timey professor using the wand to demonstrate the anatomy of a 3-D frog. Co-creator Johnson reveals his passion for Dungeons and Dragons and how this technology gives the game new life by allowing players to visually create the fantasy world instead of just relying solely on imagination.
With enough support and public demand, castAR could be the future of table top gaming. Just imagine if Parker Brothers backed up castAR. You could condense all of your board games into one system and play them in a new way that makes you feel like you’re inside the game. Not in a Jumanji kinda-way (because that’s honestly terrifying) but in the sense of seeing a bustling Park Avenue with little men building houses and hotels for you in a futuristic version of Monopoly!