Project image
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$2,960
pledged of $43,500pledged of $43,500 goal
19
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Thu, November 20 2014 5:59 AM UTC +00:00
High Rise GarageBy High Rise Garage
First created
High Rise GarageBy High Rise Garage
First created
$2,960
pledged of $43,500pledged of $43,500 goal
19
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Thu, November 20 2014 5:59 AM UTC +00:00

About

Idea

GhostDash is an augmented reality ghost car. GhostDash enables you to intuitively learn from yourself and others how to drive faster. No longer will you need to remember every detail of your time on track and study data in order to get faster. The ghost car will show you what you did in real time while you are driving. Maybe even more importantly, GhostDash allows you to drive safer by bringing a HUD (Head Up Display) into your car that puts the information you need right in front of you. No more looking down at your dashboard to check speed or lap times at over 100 mph while rubbing fenders. Get realtime feedback that is intuitive.

          

Our Story

Ever wonder why every racing game or simulator has a ghost car for practice? Ever wonder why you never use the data analysis feature in games and simulators?

GhostDash got started when our founder was discussing how to get fast in a popular racing game with a bunch of fellow racing enthusiasts. Everyone, our founder included, recommended practicing with the ghost car. At that moment it became clear that we needed such a tool for real life. If that is the best thing to do in a game when all the tools are at your fingertips then maybe we should have it for use at the track. Our founder began working on GhostDash that night.

We have been working on GhostDash for over a year now. At first everyone thought the idea was crazy, impossible. No one could envision such a system working in real life. We knew it was a system the racing community needed though, as many fellow racers said if it was possible they wanted it. The team has involved some of the best in their fields from software development to display technology. The path has not been easy and has involved hours of research, development, prototyping and testing in order to bring ghost cars into reality.

A prototype was first completed in May 2014 but it was not quite ready for prime time (see testing video below). After a few small demonstrations and collection of feedback, the team went back to work. We've found the best display technology and partnered with them. In addition, we have improved the look and performance of the software. We completed testing under numerous scenarios and now have countless man hours into making sure the program and hardware works as expected.

We're now ready for the final step: putting GhostDash in your car. GhostDash is ready for full manufacturing and we are ready to start building a community of users. We need your help though - to get the initial production run started we need funds. We believe GhostDash is the next step in driver education and we hope you'll join us in making it a reality.

It has been a long road, but GhostDash works. Not only that, it works well. Seeing is believing though, so make sure to check out the video of GhosDash in action.

Safety

It is irresponsible to make a product for use on track without at least discussing safety. We are passionate about safety. In fact, one of the driving forces for making GhostDash was to improve safety. There are two main problems with the way we currently use data to get faster:

  • Lap timers, dashes and tablets/phones require the driver to take their eyes off the road to monitor performance
  • Trying to remember what to do to go fast is distracting for all but the best drivers

GhostDash solves these problems in two ways:

  • GhostDash allows you to keep your eyes on the road even when monitoring lap times
  • GhostDash allows you to see in real time what you did to go fast (line, braking points and corner speed), no need to test your memory mid-corner

In addition, the hardware was selected and designed with safety in mind. The screen is extremely lightweight and contains no glass. Therefore the screen is shatter proof. The projector is also very light (1.5lbs) and thus can be supported with minimal mounting just like the tablets many use for lap timing now. Even though the installation requirements are minimal it is still critical that the kit is installed securely just like anything else mounted in a car going on track.

Details on GhostDash Software

The software is custom built to bring the ghost car into real life. In essence we take the data you already record through your data acquisition system and interpret it in real time in order to provide a ghost car. In addition we calculate and display the key things you are used to such as best lap time, previous lap times, current speed and gap. The goal is to make learning how to go fast safe, efficient and intuitive. The safety comes from having the key information you would normally search your dash for within your field of view. The efficiency comes from maximizing your time on track and allowing you to see instantly how and why a change you made is or is not working; you don't have to try one thing each session just to see if it works, you'll know instantly. The intuitive part comes from giving an immediately recognizable visual indicator of how and why things are working.

There are many plans for expansion of the software to help serve everyone from the track newbie to the most advanced racer. We are also receptive to any ideas you may have and plan to continually improve and distribute the updates to owners of the system.

Details on the Screen

GhostDash uses Vislogix's Vistique HoloFilm™ which is the industry leading transparent holographic optical foil for use in projection-based applications that is both sunlight readable while offering an unparalleled uniformity and clarity of image.  While typically only offered for larger, out-of-home applications, Vislogix has partnered with High Rise Garage to design and engineer this specific size and type of foil exclusively for the GhostDash hardware suite of products. In summary, we are bringing you the most advanced screen we can find to yield the best in car experience.

The key factors behind selecting our screen technology are safety, performance and ease of use. The safety part was key because many 'holographic' films could be used for GhostDash but they can also unnecessarily obscure your vision when the sun shines on them. Vislogix's technology is the only technology that does not exhibit this behavior that met our other criteria. When you use GhostDash what you'll be concerned about the most is the performance of the screen. HoloFilm has exceptional performance yielding a clear image even in direct sunlight. Many of the other screens we evaluated tended to wash out and were too hard to see. The final consideration was ease of use. HoloFilm is installed like a static cling which means it can be easily installed in your car with numerous different mounting configurations. To make sure as many people as possible could benefit from GhostDash this was a key consideration.

It is important to note that the vast majority of the screen cannot be cut/trimmed/punctured/etc. We have sized the screen to fit in 99% of all cars and still work. If you have concerns about whether it will work in your car please contact us.

Details on the Projector

We are using a customized version of a leading Pico projector manufacturer's projector for this project. The key factors in selecting our projector were size, weight, ease of use, projection geometry and customizability. The GhostDash projector is the smallest and lightest projector that still ensured adequate performance. Our modifications will allow you to press the power button and be ready to go, greatly improving ease-of-use. The projection geometry was also critical in order to allow GhostDash to work in the widest range of cars possible. In addition, the projector will have a customized enclosure to improve the looks.

Next Steps

Details on Additional Required Hardware

Depending on the reward level you select there may be additional pieces required

GhostDash Software

Windows Device

To run GhostDash software you will need a device (laptop, convertible, tablet) that runs Windows Desktop. The device will need either Bluetooth support or a USB port. To reduce wires you will want one that supports Bluetooth. We also recommend one that supports touch to be able control on the fly. There are numerous devices that will work, we recommend the Surface Pro; we have been using the Surface Pro 1 and Surface Pro 3 for development and they work well. If you need further guidance or have questions about the device you would like to use please contact us.

GPS Device

In addition, you will need one of three GPS devices we currently support or plan to support (Vbox Sport, Qstarz BT-Q818XT or Race Capture Pro with BT module).  We recommend the Vbox Sport because it has 20Hz GPS which allows for very high update rates without estimation from the software. If you have a device that supports real time data streams you would like to see supported please contact us.

GhostDash Starter

In addition to the requirements to run the software, in order to run the HUD you will need the Windows device to be able to connect to the projector through one of the ports listed in the specs below. If you need help with this please contact us.

GhostDash Pro / Miscellaneous

There are a few more things you might need for your finished install depending on configuration.

You will need a fabricated mount which can be as simple as suction cup based systems like the development prototype (best for switching between cars) or it can be fully integrated into the dash with a pop up mechanism. In addition the Windows device will need a mount. If you need ideas please contact us.

The projector and possibly the windows device will need power. The easiest way to provide this is to install an AC/DC inverter in the car. We wired in a power inverter into the race car test vehicle. You could also wire both for straight DC power just be careful that you match power specs.

Finally you'll need a connection between the Windows Device and the projector. While the projector supports wireless display technology we highly recommend routing an HDMI cable to prevent lag effects.

Tech Specs

Software

  • Ghost Car
  • Predictive lap timing
  • HUD layout
  • Braking indication
  • Automatically detects track start/finish
  • Automatically creates three sectors
  • Can manually add sectors on the fly
  • Windows desktop software
  • Supports USB and Bluetooth connections

Screen

  • Vislogix HoloFilm Technology (re-engineered for small screen use)
  • 15" active screen (16:9)
  • 98% Transparent
  • Reduces effects from light sources other than the projector
  • Reduces effects from sunlight as opposed to diffusion technologies (see pictures above)
  • Easy to install - no adhesives

Projector

  • DLP LED Projector
  • Up to 550 Lumens (High Brightness Mode)
  • Up to 1080P at 30Hz
  • Inputs: 1xHDMI, 1xVGA, 1xRCA Composite, 1x1/8" Audio Output, 1xUSB 2.0 and 1xMini-USB
  • Dimensions: 1.5lb / 0.68 kg
  • 20,000 hour bulb life
  • Manual Focus
  • Projection size range (10-160")
  • 85W

Our Journey

GhostDash began as a discussion in an online forum at TrackJunkies.org, check it out here: Tips for Practicing? GT5 section of TrackJunkies.Org Forum. At the time the vision was much smaller than it is now and basically we wanted to put a ghost car on the same dashes/screens we use today. The founder immediately set out to develop it himself. At the same time it bugged us that the technology didn't already exist so we sought out people who might be working on one. While the idea exists no one we have found has developed one! We are shocked.

We started with the algorithm. Below is a screen capture of the first drawing showing some of the logic behind GhostDash.

September 2013 - Conceptual Drawing
September 2013 - Conceptual Drawing

After spending a few months working on GhostDash and progress going slowly we sought a developer to help development go quicker. By March 2014 we had software that worked. There were lots of bugs and things to work on but...IT WORKED! Looking back now that day was magical, many people thought this project was fantasy.

The problem then became the display. We had originally planned on mounting a transparent LCD as the display. The problem with transparent LCDs is that they do not allow you to see at a distance. Everything more than five feet beyond the display appears out of focus.

We were crushed and almost gave up. Transparent LCDs were not cheap but they were how GhostDash was going to become reality, and they did not work.

After many more searches, phone calls, and requests for information we came upon the idea of using projectors to display the HUD on a holographic film. There are quite a few companies offering diffusion technologies and a few weeks later we had many samples in hand.

Diffusion screens didn't work either! They turn grey and almost opaque when sunshine hits them. A diffusion screen just isn't safe for this kind of use.

Diffusion Technology Turns Grey/Opaque Under Sunlight
Diffusion Technology Turns Grey/Opaque Under Sunlight

Again we were crushed and almost gave up. We worked on augmented reality glasses but they aren't ready. The head tracking isn't responsive enough to work well in a car. Then we came across Vislogix' holographic technology.

Finally we had a screen that worked!

HoloFilm Works Much Better
HoloFilm Works Much Better

The only downside is that they didn't make it small enough for use in a car. Vislogix was excited by the chance to work on such a unique project though. After numerous discussions we reached an agreement - we would work together to re-engineer the screen for use in GhostDash.

Diffusion on Top - HoloFilm on Bottom
Diffusion on Top - HoloFilm on Bottom

Throughout that time we continued to work to improve GhostDash. We put a car model into the program, we added in sector marker support and made the HUD layout easier to read.

Now we are finally ready to share this with the world. There are a few more steps to take but wide release is in sight. We need your help to make the final few steps, every pledge brings GhostDash one step closer to reality.

Risks and challenges

Does GhostDash work: Yes it does and everyone who has seen it in action or used it has been blown away. Check out the video for shots of GhostDash in action to see for yourself. Some steps we took to make sure the system worked:
• Technical testing of software has been ongoing since March 2014 (on the street as well as the track)
• Researched and/or tested over twenty portable projectors
• Researched and/or tested five different display technologies

We have tested GhostDash extensively but there is a possibility for bugs to emerge or needs for new features. We plan to address bugs in order of severity. New features will be prioritized by utility. We have extensive plans for upgrading the software beyond launch but we hope you will share your thoughts so that we can incorporate the features you want or need.

What about Manufacturing: All hardware pieces are sourced from experienced manufacturers of their product. We have partnered with the screen manufacturer to adapt one of their existing products for use in GhostDash. The projector is also an adapted version of the manufacturer's existing product. There are possibilities of defects though, as with any manufacturing.

How is the install: Anyone can do a simple installation to get GhostDash up and running. The sky is the limit though. Installation can be as involved as a custom dashboard or as simple as the suction cup based design we used for our prototype. We can move the prototype between cars in less than 10 minutes. If you need help with installation please contact us.

How will you ship: Products will ship by ground shipping in the US and will be hand packed by the GhostDash team. We are not currently prepared to handle international shipping but will consider it given enough interest (let us know if you want it).

How will you scale: We do not know how big this will be. As far as we know there is no product out there like this other than a few concept videos. We strongly believe that this is something the market wants though. Still the risk remains that if we happen to get hundreds of orders it may become tough to ensure everyone gets one on our originally planned timeline. The good news would be that we have more funds to add more features to the software quicker.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Funder Status: Your help at any level brings GhostDash one step closer to reality. Have our thanks forever and have the option to be listed on our website as a Funder.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    GhostDash Software Early Bird: Want to try out GhostDash without buying a kit? Get one of the first copies of GhostDash software at an incredible price for use with a GPS device and Windows device. See description for hardware requirements. Includes Funder Status rewards.

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    GhostDash Software: Want to try out GhostDash without buying a kit? Get a copy of GhostDash for use with a GPS device and Windows device at a special Kickstarter discount. Expected retail of $45. See description for hardware requirements.

    Includes Funder Status rewards.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,700 or more About $1,700

    GhostDash Starter Early Bird: Get access to the first kits off the production line at an incredible price by being one of earliest supporters. The kit includes GhostDash software, our customized projector and our proprietary HUD Screen. Please see description for additional hardware requirements.

    Includes Funder Status rewards.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,900 or more About $1,900

    GhostDash Starter: Get access to a GhostDash Starter kit at a special Kickstarter price. The kit includes GhostDash software, our customized projector and our proprietary HUD Screen. Please see description for additional hardware requirements.

    Includes Funder Status rewards.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $3,400 or more About $3,400

    GhostDash Pro Early Bird: Get access to the first full kits off the production line at an incredible price by being one of earliest supporters. The kit includes everything from GhostDash starter with additional hardware we used to develop GhostDash. Get a Surface Pro 3 with custom GhostDash skin and a VBox Sport. Please see description for additional hardware requirements.

    Includes Funder Status rewards.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $3,600 or more About $3,600

    GhostDash Pro: Get access to a GhostDash Pro kit at a special Kickstarter price. The kit includes everything from GhostDash starter with additional hardware we used to develop GhostDash. Get a Surface Pro 3 with custom GhostDash skin and a VBox Sport. Please see description for additional hardware requirements.

    Includes Funder Status rewards.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $9,000 or more About $9,000

    GhostDash Starter x 5: Get 5 GhostDash Starter kits for your race team at a special Kickstarter price. The kit includes GhostDash software, our customized projector and our proprietary HUD Screen. Please see description for additional hardware requirements.

    Includes Funder Status rewards.

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Funding period

- (30 days)