For an industry that hasn’t yet released a proper official consumer product, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology has received a startling amount of investment over the last few year. From Facebooks procurement of Oculus VR for $2 billion USD to secretive AR start-up Magic Leap which secured or $500 million USD from tech companies like Google. So its no surprise to hear that another AR start-up castAR has just received a $15 million investment from Playground Global.
The investment firm was founded by Andy Rubin one of the original co-founders of Android, and adds to the original $1 million USD funding castAR secured through a Kickstarter crowd funding campaign in 2013.
CastAR was founded by former Valve employees Jeri Ellsworth and Rick Johnson who had previously worked on VR initiatives. The pair left to create Technical Illusions which then became castAR, with the purpose to create a fun, compact, and fully self-contained AR system that users could simply put on and begin playing.
David Henkel-Wallace, CEO, at castAR said in a statement: “Among all the confusion about what separates AR from VR, what’s lost is fun. People want a simple, accessible, fun solution that they can just pick up and play with their friends, without dealing with a bulky, uncomfortable headset, much less being tethered to a big computer. Our goal is to see castAR on store shelves across North America, aligned with some recognizable brands in tabletop and interactive gaming. Playground’s support will help us get there.”
Rubin added in the statement that: “I was really intrigued by David, Jeri, and Rick’s approach to tackling the problem of how to drive mainstream adoption of AR. They’re the only company I found to be simplifying the utility and application of augmented and virtual reality technology into a fun, accessible, and portable system that will wow kids and adults alike.”
CastAR are anticipating a consumer launch in 2016 and working prototypes have already begun shipping to Kickstarter backers. VRFocus will continue to report on the latest updates from castAR as they’re announced.