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CastAR Raises $15 Million, Led by Android Co-Founder Andy Rubin's Playground

The mission: Make smart glasses fun.


The lines separating virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality are already pretty blurry, as several companies rush in to own a piece of the nascent immersive tech.

Here comes another one. Gaming-focused startup castAR said Wednesday it had raised a $15 million Series A round led by Playground Global Ventures, a hardware-focused incubator launched earlier this year by Android co-founder Andy Rubin.

Although the “AR” in the company’s name stands for augmented reality, castAR’s forthcoming product will work more like Microsoft’s mixed-reality glasses HoloLens than other augmented-reality smart glasses made by companies like Google, ODG or Epson. The castAR glasses have two projectors mounted on them, one over each eye, and when users look at a special type of fabric, they’ll see 3-D objects projected in the real world, which will behave like real objects as users move around them.

Here’s a concept video of what the startup is going for:

CEO David Henkel-Wallace said that he personally prefers “mixed reality” to “augmented reality,” but that castAR has backed out of the terminology wars altogether. Instead, its marketing focuses on convincing consumers that smart glasses can be fun to use.

“Everyone talks about games being ‘high-resolution’ or ‘eye-popping,'” he said. “What happened to the word ‘fun’? It’s a central tenet for us. We’re just having fun, and we think our customers will, too.”

CastAR is both courting third-party developers and planning to make some software in-house. In the latter category, its current focus is how smart glasses might enhance tabletop games ranging from Dungeons and Dragons to Monopoly.

With the new funding, Henkel-Wallace said, castAR plans to hire beyond its current team of nine, with the goal of shipping a consumer unit by Christmas 2016. By the end of this year or early next, he expects all of the company’s 2013 Kickstarter backers will have prototype hardware in hand.

This article originally appeared on

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