AR, SHE BLOWS
While Oculus Rift competitors were absent at CES 2015, several augmented reality headsets were on display. Where virtual reality HMDs aim to completely immerse you in a virtual world, AR headsets typically use a transparent display to layer information atop the real world. Gaming is, at least currently, in the realm of VR, not AR.
CastAR, funded by a 2013 Kickstarter from engineers who worked on VR at Valve, was at CES with hardware that’s on its way to campaign backers. CastAR is the smallest HMD (AR or VR) we’ve seen to date, looking like a chunkier Google Glass than a Rift. The flashiest AR headset at CES, by comparison, was Caputer Labs’ Seer, looking like a cross between Nintendo’s Virtual Boy and a motorcycle helmet.
The Seer headset runs off a smartphone, but unlike Oculus and Samsung’s GearVR, the smartphone screen doesn’t sit right in front of your face. Instead, it slots into the headset and has its screen reflected onto a visor, which gives you an AR overlay. Seer is an early prototype, with imminent plans for a Kickstarter campaign.