Two years ago, when the now-thriving virtual reality market was merely a collection of prototypes and Kickstarter campaigns, CastAR was on our radar as a potential heavy hitter with its augmented reality (AR) glasses. Time has passed, but CastAR has yet to debut its flagship product. However, the company recently resurfaced with news that it took on a new CEO, and today CastAR announced the opening of a new development studio in Salt Lake City to drive its product to retail.
CastAR is now headed by former President of LucasArts and COO of Electronic Arts Los Angeles Darrell Rodriguez, who took over the CEO reigns in August. The team consists of former Avalanche Software developers (that have worked on the Disney Infinity franchise), and the company is looking to double the size of its workforce with the opening of the new Salt Lake City studio. The new location will work hand in hand with CastAR’s current headquarters in Palo Alto, California to drive the augmented reality device to market.
Interestingly, CastAR used the same confounding nomenclature as Microsoft (with the HoloLens) to describe its product. Calling it “mixed reality” or “MR” can be a bit confusing to the average consumer, but the CastAR HMD falls into a grey area of sorts, featuring three different ways to display content. It works by projecting an image onto a reflective surface, but it also can display AR content and fully immersive VR content. (In that sense, CastAR's "MR" would seem more in line with Intel's "merged reality" MR nomenclature.)
“AR” is even in the company’s name, and the term “mixed reality” quickly makes you think of green screens and videos of people dodging lasers in Space Pirate Trainer. However, the CastAR could be the ideal device to classify as a true “mixed reality” product with its multiple display methods, but as we've noted, there seems to be a nomenclature issue brewing in the world of virtual reality/augmented reality/mixed reality/projected reality/merged reality, and CastAR’s branding just adds fuel to the language fire.
The company didn’t give specific details of a potential launch date or pricing, but it did credit the opening of the new studio as a vehicle to get CastVR to the retail market. Hopefully, it won’t take another few years to hear more news about the HMD itself.