CastAR gets funding, approval from Android's Andy Rubin

August 25, 2015 | 11:25

Tags: #android #augmented-reality #jeri-ellsworth #rick-johnson

Companies: #castar #kickstarter #technical-illusions #valve

CastAR. the augmented-stroke-virtual reality start-up formerly known as Technical Illusions, has announced that it has raised a whopping $15 million in Series A investment funding, thanks primarily to the chap behind popular mobile platform Android.

Andy Rubin co-founded Android Incorporated in 2003, and joined Google when it acquired the plucky young mobile start-up. In 2013 he left the company, and since then has been looking for investments through Playground Global - and he's decided that CastAR's intriguing blend of virtual and augmented reality is the logical place to go.

'I was really intrigued by David, Jeri, and Rick's approach to tackling the problem of how to drive mainstream adoption of AR,' Rubin explained of the deal which sees his investment company propel the company to a Series A round of more than $15 million. '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's system, developed by former Valve staffers Jeri Ellsworth and Rick Johnson, differs from platforms like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift by concentrating on augmenting, rather than replacing, reality. A head-tracking system is worn by the viewer, while an integrated projector beams images onto a specially-constructed retro-reflective display. The result is a convincing three-dimensional image which reacts to the wearer's movement without the resolution and screen-door-effect issues that can plague LCD panel based systems. The first hardware begun shipping to Kickstarter backers [url=http://www.bit-tech.net/news/hardware/2014/11/24/castar-shipped/1]back in November last year[/eurl], while the investment funds will be used to bring the technology to a wider audience.

'Among all the confusion about what separates AR from VR, what's lost is fun,' said David Henkel-Wallace, chief executive at castAR. '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 recognisable brands in tabletop and interactive gaming. Playground's support will help us get there.'

The company claims it is on-track to a commercial launch of CastAR hardware in 2016, but has not yet confirmed a target launch date.
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