Ex-Valve Tech Guru Shows Off Augmented Reality Glasses

Ex-Valve Tech Guru Shows Off Augmented Reality Glasses

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Jeri Ellsworth has had time for new exiting projects, and one of them is headed to Kickstarter soon.

"It's like a magic wand," says ex-Valve tech guru Jeri Ellsworth, as she demonstrates her latest augmented reality glasses build at Maker Faire 2013. With the glasses, wand and LED-enhanced reflective screen, "you can interact with these graphical things in the real world as if they're really there," she says. It's the device Ellsworth has been working on since her departure from Gabe Newell's workshop, and she's hoping to take it to Kickstarter in 2013.

The glasses, with its projectors, tracking camera and LEDs - able to figure out head position with submillimeter accuracy at 3 meters distance - and the special reflective screen help create the augmented reality illusions, bouncing images projected out of the glasses to the surface at 120 Hz refresh, while the wand allows the player to interact with them. "Each person wearing the glasses has a unique view on the situation," says Ellsworth, making the device perfect for multiplayer matches. Ellsworth hasn't got a firm price, and is currently at the prototype stage, but is pitching the package at under $200.

It all started at Valve, when Ellsworth and her friends worked in Newell's hardware shop. "We started researching everything games," says Ellsworth, "and then the group split off into different directions," each pursuing their own goal. Ellsworth wasn't that big into AR at first, but after she saw the potential of the tech she became a firm believer. Unfortunately the hardware project didn't fit with Valve's idea of where future potential products lay, hence the layoffs. "A group of us are now working outside of Valve," says Ellsworth, "with it's blessing. [Valve] has given us this tech." Now Ellsworth, with her new company Technical Illusions, just has to make it work. So far, so good, at least at Maker Faire.

Source: Engadget

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That, this is finally what i can call augmented reality entertainment that would create any kind of sense. looks liek under all this crappy jobs and showoffs there are real tech specialists still.

Are giving players headaches the new thing in the industry?

Karloff:
The glasses, with its projectors, tracking camera and LEDs

Those LEDs are a crucial part of the formula!

Just looked around at the source and this really looks impressive, more so to me than any VR technology in development right now.
I can see a whole bunch of potential with this kind of device and now I just want to see what some of the homebrew guys would do with it.

This just made me think of ARI in Hard Rain. Only real difference is they'd need to replace the wand with a glove.

Sub-$200? Google must be quaking in their boots for the future of Google Glass. Or not. Glass isn't so expensive for no reason, and I doubt anything great can be made at this price point.

P.S. Thanks

You know what's really impressive about this?
They were allowed to keep the hard- and software they developed while they were still part of Valve. That's not typical. Usually they'd have to start all over again and eventually fear the lawyers. You know, company secrets, patents and whatnot.
Gabe said something like "It's theirs, make it happen" to the lawyers, which is something I'd love to throw the Valve-haters in the face. Especially those who were like "Aha! Turns out Valve is evil after all!" when the news about the layoffs surfaced.

This is cool and all, but does anyone else feel that this is potentially a really terrible?

Karloff:
"A group of us are now working outside of Valve," says Ellsworth, "with it's blessing. [Valve] has given us this tech."

This right here is why people like Valve so much. Do you think a company like Microsoft would ever do this? Just remember this the next time someone asks "Uh ..why does everyone love Valve?"..

JC Denton called, he wants the glasses back.

Try not to play AR games in public, or you could be seen as a lunatic.

The possibilities for this tech are endless. Don't know if it can be as good as Google Glass though given the price tag.

Really classy that they got to keep the technology.

I think I'm going to stop complaining about a lack of Half Life now, since apparently Valve has spent the last few years making Star Trek real instead.

My brain has enough trouble dealing with one reality as it is. Do people really expect me I'll want to bother it with additional sensory input and confusing it even more? And don't get me wrong, VR technology interests me, but I think the "Ooooooo awesomeshiny!" sentiment is pushing the considerations about safety and liability not only on the back seat but to the back of the bus, but they can still bite us in the ass.

Considerations such as the fact that the current reality will not wait for you while you're busy with the other one, or the fact that if you break down barriers between real and virtual, your brain might start doing some funky stuff like struggling to tell which is which.

 

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