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geneb

Disruptive technology for DIY flight simulator builders...

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I've been posting this note around to the various flight simulator forums - I call it copy/paste evangelism. :)  I'm doing it because I feel that the castAR is literally THE most revolutionary device to appear in a long time.  It's going to make DIY cockpits and flight training in general a whole new world.

 

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Here's a message I posted on the simpits-tech list:
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Well today I had my mind blown.  Not just a little either.  We're talking
full skullcap separation here. :)

I've been peripherially aware of an augmented reality project called
castAR.  I saw a still photo of it in action the other day and this caused
me to reach out to the designer with some questions about it.

Holeeee ######.

The castAR in its most basic form is a pair of 720p pico projectors
attached to what amounts to eyeglass frames, coupled with some glue logic
and a TrackIR style head tracker.

The light output of the projectors is so low that you won't see the image
they project on a normal surface.  It requires what is called a "retro
reflective surface"  It's essentially the same thing as a theatre's
projection screen.

Now think about this - you're in a cockpit with all these things that
won't reflect the light from the projectors, but "outside" is this
material.  As you move your head around, you're going to see outside
visuals where ever the castAR output hits the screen material.  Because of
the head tracking (accurate to .07mm apparently) you're always going to
see the right visual.

You see why my head exploded?

Now add to the outside visuals - instead of stuffing your cockpit with
LCDs for the various avionics displays, stuff properly sized bits of this
reflective material where ever the instruments go.  When you're looking at
them, you'll be seeing those glass displays where they belong.

That's why the top of my head came off. :)

This is the most disruptive technology I think I've ever seen.  This could
single handedly revitalize the whole flight simulator genre.  From what
I've read, adding support for castAR isn't that difficult of a programming
challenge.  I suspect that it won't take long for Eagle Dynamics and 1C to
add support for castAR once it hits the market.

The company is called Technical Illusions and the hardware is designed by
Jeri Ellsworth.  The website is http://www.technicalillusions.com

They're going to be opening a Kickstarter on October 15th - I would highly
recommend that you folks check it out when it goes up.  Come hell or high
water, I'm going to figure out how to get my hands on a pair of these
things as early as I can.
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This morning, Technical Illusions posted a new demo video of the castAR in use with a flight simulator demo:



I think you can see why I'm so insanely excited about this thing.

Please sign up for the forum over there and cheer them on!

g.

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Only a few more months until we get our castar gene :)

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Hmm, while this is all really clever and exciting technology, I fail too see how it would be of interest for those of us who want to immerse ourselves in a proper simpit or cockpit with all relevent switches and hardware.

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Because it would eliminate the need for any display screens. Just the movie theater cloth applied in the correct locations and then 'poof' all of your visuals would show only where those cloth surfaces exist. Your actual physical cockpit wouldn't show any projected image, none of the switches etc. Just the physical cloth surfaces you place in the correct positions in your cockpit.

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Hmmm 720p is not going to cut it with the nerd gaming crowd that be the ones most likely to buy this.

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Hmmm 720p is not going to cut it with the nerd gaming crowd that be the ones most likely to buy this.

Occulus Rift started at 640p if I recall correctly and it took off like mad. So... I wouldn't say that's true at all.

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Hmm, while this is all really clever and exciting technology, I fail too see how it would be of interest for those of us who want to immerse ourselves in a proper simpit or cockpit with all relevent switches and hardware.

 

The projectors only project on the special reflective material (the 'curve' screen you should setup for your visuals), so this means you can have a hardware cockpit with throttles, yokes, PFD, ND, maps, charts and when you're looking at these instruments you don't get any projection. 

 

For example --

 

Hmmm 720p is not going to cut it with the nerd gaming crowd that be the ones most likely to buy this.

 

Its 720p each projector I believe, which should be adequate for a 120 degree FOV. 

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Occulus Rift started at 640p if I recall correctly and it took off like mad. So... I wouldn't say that's true at all.

 

And what was one of the first things people complained about? Yup, low res. They are now going for 1080p screens and rightly so.

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And what was one of the first things people complained about? Yup, low res. They are now going for 1080p screens and rightly so.

Not a single complaint stopped it's progress... people signed up for the dev kits like crazy. That 640p didn't have an impact on development or adaptation of the system. In fact, the only thing that's actually affected the adaptation of Rift support is the purchase by Zuckerberg.

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I have to watch the videos to see for myself. I wonder how limited the field of view of this system is. Would I be able to glance down at my panel without moving my head to check instruments? The idea is pretty cool.

 

I would probably prefer this to an Occulus Rift simply because I can still see the controls and my environment which is important to me for a flight sim application where I need to keep moving to different controls, use checklists or other tools.

 

If I was playing a simple combat flight sim and could had a 100% HOTAS setup I would favor the Occulus Rift.

 

If I was playing a FPS the Rift wins hands down. I have used it and it is very good in that role.

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This is an older, but stunning, tech called "augmented reality" -  improved and displayed in glasses.

 

I like it.

 

This could really put you "in" the cockpit.

 

I agree with Rockliffe though - I like touching stuff. A blend of both maybe?

 

The old tech with Bert and Ernie  ^_^   - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2jSzmvm_WA

 

And a demo of the same older tech - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oH_LfXnklRw

 

Worth keeping an eye on where all of this goes. Projecting 3D objects within your real-life FOV is an incredible concept. Interesting.

 

This is as close as we will get to interactive holograms in the near future.

 

If I had $1,000,000, I'd invest every penny in castAR porn developers  :lol:

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That does look pretty Boss! has a ton of potential for sim pit builders who have a lot of  hardware. If this takes off I'd consider closing up my relatively open and generic home cockpit. Would love to get rid of six LCD's in favor of fabric screen if nothing more for efficiency and heat reduction.

 

At any rate the market looks to be moving toward VR and there will probably only be room for a few standards when it's all said and done.

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Looks like the developer version is shipping soon! 

 

http://venturebeat.com/2014/10/07/technical-illusions-shows-off-its-developer-version-of-its-castar-augmented-reality-glasses-interview/view-all/

 

 

Also very excited that Ellsworth mentions this -- 

 

GamesBeat: What applications seem like they’ll be the first ways people use this?

Ellsworth: Games are going to be king for a while. The things I’m personally excited about are flight simulators, where you have the reflective material on a wall and you can turn your head side to side. Or very immersive first-person shooters, using it as a giant screen. A little semicircle would be ideal as a racing or flight simulator. Looking to one side, you’d be looking out the window.

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Oooo.....I like this very much!! I'd have a use for space sims too (X3 Terran Conflict, X Rebirth, Star Citizen etc).

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Wow! This is exactly the technology I was envisaging on another thread. Very excited. This makes a single seat simpit a real possibility!!

 

Z

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I can see this being good after development,

 

If you build a home cockpit and want the view outside the windscreen, no more

multi-monitor or projector setup required, just put the material instead of the glass and screens for an outside view,

 

could be very usefull and a cheap option for a full all round view outside.

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I have this on order from kickstarter. They are several months behind their schedule (originally suppose to be delivered SEPT), so hopefully by Jan we can try it out. 

 

I understand Gene has the developer -early access version on order, so he should be getting it first :)

 

As for integration with P3D/FSX -- I am not too sure how exactly that would work -- perhaps via something similar to drivers available for TrackIR?

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That would be nice,

 

working on building a simulator from the half an aircraft sat in the garage lol,

and was wondering what to do for a view screen,

this would sort that out perfectly

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I wonder whether you'd want a dome outside your sim pit screen & canopy or whether you could get the desired effect by having the aircraft "glass" being replaced with the reflective material? 

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I think it would be good to use it as the glass,

 

but then i've never tried the project,

it would be nice to have glass in the screens,

but wonder iff it would still work from behind it.

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My concern is that in some places the glass could be very close to your eye position and I'm not clear what your eye focuses on. Is it the distant image of the view outside the cockpit or the surface of the reflecting material?

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Augmented Reality rather than Virtual Reality. In other words there is a layer of virtual stuff layered over the real - which to flight simulation means that you can see real instruments & switches in a simpit but have the Out The Window (OTW) view generated by the sim software.

 

Nirvana!

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It comes down to how effective the reflective material distance is at x-distance. 

 

I would set a curve screen up outside the cockpit, and see how that works. 

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