#147 – An interview with Jeri Ellsworth – Absorptive Augmented Actuality


Welcome back, Jeri Ellsworth!

And welcome people who don’t normally listen to the show; if you came to hear Jeri, you won’t be disappointed! (until you hear Dave and Chris). Regardless, if you like what you hear and have interest in electronics (making them, not just using them), you can subscribe to our RSS feed or through our iTunes Podcast Feed.

For those interested, there is also now a transcript available for episode 147


Today’s episode was sponsored by element14. Check out their community support, product info and ways to purchase a wide range of popular dev boards, including Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone Black.


Photos of Jeri and the Technical Illusions team by Alvaro Prieto, friend of the show and great photographer!


  1. says

    Neeerdgasm. Love Jeri salvaging 100K chips stories, not to mention UPS on a plane 😀
    Replacing 30K worth of tracking gear with cellphone camera and fpga? no more drifting relative positioning imu? ooo sooo good. Love it love it love it!

    I could easily listen to couple of hours more of this.

  2. greencardigan says

    The best episode yet. Thanks Jerri! Hope you make it over here to AU :-)

    Can’t wait for your kickstarter.

  3. Heidy Grendelson says

    Sucks to hear about getting laid off from Valve. Makes me second guess Valve’s upcoming hardware.

  4. says

    Not sure who in that photo (other than Jeri and Rick) are the 5 technical illusions employees, but it seems the company is anywhere from 40% to 80% female! For a tech company that is pretty huge.

  5. says

    How well does the micro projector and retro reflector work at a distance like 10 or 15 feet away?
    Would the brightness need to be cranked up more?
    I can see ways to use it for more large scale AR

      • says

        was thinking about how you could have a 10 foot grid of motorized retroreflective curtains, to split up a large room into a holodeck like enviroment, close curtains near the user to give them a screen to reflect off, and open them give them openings to walk thru

        the 3d effect should allow you to put walls that dont fit the 10foot grid, and any other object

        that just leaves the issue of other users getting in the way of the projection, simplest fix is a retroreflective suit, which would also allow the system to render a custom skin on every player

        with some of those IR tracking led’s in the gloves, you could possibly also do clipping detection, and then trigger cellphone vib motors in the glove, to simulate contact

  6. Frank says

    The product sounds like the closest thing to a real time hologram yet. When do we get a Princess Leia demo?

    I can’t wait for the remake of the ’80s arcade game Gauntlet! Or Mario Cart, but more like a slot car set.

    A couple of years ago, I remember seeing an implementation of a Real Time Strategy game (RTS) on the Microsoft Surface (Table sized version). It was like looking down on an interactive map. Taking that into 3d watching little tanks rolling over hills and interacting with them will get my wallet open.

  7. says

    Is it/(would it be) possible to stick a whole bunch of the retroreflective mats together to give a bigger area? Will the tracking system just detect an arbitrary number of “dots” if there are an appropriate number of modulation IDs?

    It would be so cool to just plaster every surface in a room with this stuff. Excited to see some hardware in the wild!

  8. Alan says

    When travelling on a plane, I’d like to use a laptop. Plug the glasses into HDMI and USB ports, have the reflective material covering the top of the laptop. Close the lid to enter 3D interactive mode.

  9. says

    Would this work in an industrial environment?

    I envisage having the “grey mats” on various industrial assets with barcodes on and the glasses detect the barcodes and provide a customised menu around that asset, eg a chemical tank could then project tank temperatures, analysis of the contents, warnings, maintenance manuals, standard operating procedures etc directly onto it..

    I look forward to a development kit..

    • says

      each IR tracking led is giving off a unique id, so its possible for every mat to be programmed with its own unique id, and just slapped on the side of a piece of equipment

      you could then have anything on there, 3d internal diagram, that actually looks like an xray view inside the machine
      directions on how to use/repair it, and if you had a network link, it could show live status of things

  10. chexclaim says

    Every time I listen to Jeri I feel like a useless monkey.
    Excellent episode, excellent project, excellent guest. Thank you.


  11. says

    That was a great interview! Definitely my favorite so far. This really got my imagination working over time with all of the possibilities. It was refreshing to hear someone talk so openly about business and technical details. I haven’t funded any kickstarter projects yet – this might have to be my first. I want to play with this stuff!