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Valve drops off old augmented reality tech with fired employees

Two of the employees let go during the big Valve cull earlier this year, Jeri Ellsworth and Rick Johnson, have been gifted the augmented reality glasses tech that the Half Life maker was working on and they’ve been beavering away at it since they were let go, suggesting that the layoffs were more strategic than were initially understood.

Since the pair left Valve back in February, they’ve been working 16 hour days with the Augmented Reality tech and have created something pretty clever. Now operating under the banner of Technical Illusions, they’ve created something that takes AR to a new level. The glasses, currently in the working prototype stage, bounces projected images off of a screen and back to the lenses, which use active shutters to filter what you see between your left and right eye, creating a 3D picture. Combined with this though, are LEDs surrounding the screen that track head movement.

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Augmented reality straight from Johnny Nmeumonic – Source: The Verge

The fact that this all appears to happen in the “real” world, even if it is against a screen, should add a level tangibility above that of virtual reality efforts. It could also make for some great gaming experiences if you think how this could be applied to already existing titles. Imagine a Pokemon battle game where you throw a pokeball down and your favourite critter pops out to fight.

In The Verge’s demo of the tech, the writer plays a form of Jenga and a zombie shooter that sounds impressive, even if the glasses are in a very early stage at the moment.

Expect these goggles to appear sometime later this year on Kickstarter for around $200 a pop. The interesting part will be if Valve buys up the company once the tech is finalised. Firing them could have given Ellsworth and Johnson the freedom they needed to dedicate time and effort towards this thing.

KitGuru Says: Quite interesting, but the screen seems the “problem,” part of the tech. It’s not quite augmented *reality* if you need a screen, is it?

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