Ever wish racing in real life was more like playing Gran Turismo or Forza? By that we don't mean lots of swearing and sideswiping other racers into corners – we just think it would just be useful to have all of the game's data available on-the-fly in real life, especially a ghost car for comparing previous laps. A solution for track drivers may be on the way from a company called High Rise Garage thanks to its software and giant head-up display called the GhostDash.

The whole system basically presents the entire HUD from a racing video game as an augmented reality display in an actual moving car. Looking through the 98-percent transparent screen, a driver can see a ghost car projection running its last lap. At the bottom, there's a display for current speed, the gap and lap times. It's supposed to make learning a faster line much easier. "We believe HUDs and ghost cars are the next step in utilizing the data racers collect to make it easier and safer," spokesman Justin Hayes tells Autoblog. We can see applications beyond racing, too, including basic driver's education programs.

The GhostDash is possible thanks to several pieces of technology working together. The raw data comes from a GPS unit that sends info to software running on a Windows device, which crafts it into an image. A linked projector then displays the HUD on a 15-inch holographic screen that hangs from a mount in front of the driver.

GhostDash isn't quite ready to buy yet, though. High Rise Garage is running a Kickstarter campaign with a goal of $43,500 to complete funding for the system, but the company claims the software and hardware work now. The business needs the funds for final development and manufacturing, and the company thinks it can start shipping units in January, 2015.

The Kickstarter campaign is broken into three major tiers. For $40, pledgers just get the software to run on a Windows device (the company recommends a Surface Pro tablet). For $1,900, people also get the projector and screen to display the HUD on. Finally, $3,600 also adds a Surface Pro 3 to run the software and Vbox Sport GPS unit. For the two lower levels, buyers need to supply their own GPS device and GhostDash currently supports three devices with plans to add two more.

Developing this kind of tech is a huge undertaking, but High Rise Garage is already considering the future. It eventually wants to add features like custom maps to support users who autocross and a racing line to the software. Scroll down to watch a video of the GhostDash in action and read the company's press release about it.
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Club Racer and High Performance Driving Instructor Builds an Augmented Reality Head Up Display for Racing with a Ghost Car Built In - Pitches Online to Start Manufacturing

Justin Hayes, a racing and high performance driving enthusiast, turns to alternative funding sources to bring video games into real life for racing enthusiasts. With only thirty days to raise funds, the community will have to show their support.

Houston, TX (WEB)October 20, 2014 -- Racing enthusiast Justin Hayes is turning to Kickstarter to raise funds for the augmented reality Head Up Display (HUD) for racing he's calling GhostDash. GhostDash plans to help people who want to learn how to drive on track do so more quickly and safely by using a ghost car, typical in racing games and simulators. Ghost cars are recordings of the fastest lap for people to race against. They are found in most racing games, from arcade racers like Mario Kart to serious simulators like Gran Turismo, Forza Motorsport and iRacing. GhostDash is the first time ghost cars are available for use in real-life. It provides a ghost car by projecting the image on a screen in front of the driver.

Following Kickstarter.com guidelines, GhostDash has a set number of days to raise all funds. Hayes's project has a 30 day funding window from start to finish. If the fundraising goal ($43,500) isn't raised by the end of the day on November 19, all pledges are canceled and the HUD will not be funded. This protects contributors from investing in a project that did not receive enough backing to bring it to realization.

When asked about why Kickstarter was chosen for launching GhostDash, Hayes commented, "The community of people who take their car to the track has a strong online presence. The ability to connect with the community and keep them updated on progress as we put on the final touches is invaluable." The automotive community is very active through forums and blog sites and is likely to make or break the project in the long run.

Hayes adds, "We really see this as a community building project that allows racers and enthusiasts to connect with other community members through the ghost feature. The ability to race and learn from your friend even though you aren't on track at the same time greatly increases the fun factor." The community is clearly ready for something like GhostDash. Recent articles and media covering ghost cars, as concepts for major manufacturers and in games, have garnered significant online attention. One article Hayes mentions as a particular motivator is a recent syndicated article about a teenager being able to race, and more importantly connect with, his deceased dad through a recovered ghost in a racing game (article). "The article came at a time when we weren't sure we'd ever figure out the hardware to make GhostDash work. It served as a compelling reminder that something like GhostDash could allow enthusiasts to connect in a new way, like we do in games."

It's been an incredible journey for GhostDash. In the past year High Rise Garage, the company that developed GhostDash, has partnered with companies who are leaders in their fields. GhostDash required a great programmer, a proprietary display technology re-engineered in partnership with Vislogix (a team of interactive technology specialists), and a modified version of a leading Pico projector. It took the team over a year, but now they are ready to begin manufacturing.

It is clear Hayes is passionate about safety and that safety is a key motivation for developing GhostDash. "We saw GhostDash as an opportunity to make driving on track safer by keeping the driver's eyes on the road as well as allowing drivers to intuitively see how to go fast, therefore increasing focus on surroundings," states Hayes. "One of the biggest hurdles we faced was finding a display technology that would not create unsafe conditions. Both transparent LCDs and diffusion- based holographic films can create scenarios where the driver struggles to see what is in front of them. Thankfully, we were able to partner with Vislogix to bring their proprietary HoloFilm into the project."

Hayes and his team have a few key steps to finish up GhostDash. They need to finalize the user interface for the software and start manufacturing of the kits (screen, projector and software). "We partnered with experienced manufacturers to reduce risk. We felt the best thing we could do is get out of our partners' way and make sure we handled our part of assembling the kits and polishing up the software to ensure the best possible experience for our users," Hayes notes.

Ultimately, High Rise Garage aims to change driver education on and off the track. Hayes concludes, "We have very ambitious plans for future development of GhostDash, even beyond racing. We think the world needs a better way to teach drivers to be safer and that the best way to do so is to present them with simulated experiences in a real car."

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