Project North Star is Now Open Source

http://blog.leapmotion.com/north-star-open-source/

At Leap Motion, we envision a future where the physical and virtual worlds blend together into a single magical experience. At the heart of this experience is hand tracking, which unlocks interactions uniquely suited to virtual and augmented reality. To explore the boundaries of interactive design in AR, we created Project North Star, which drove us to push beyond the limitations of existing systems.

Today, we’re excited to share the open source schematics of the North Star headset, along with a short guide on how to build one. By open sourcing the design and putting it into the hands of the hacker community, we hope to accelerate experimentation and discussion around what augmented reality can be. You can download the package from our website or dig into the project on GitHub, where it’s been published under an Apache license.

Our goal is for the reference design to be accessible and inexpensive to build, using off-the-shelf components and 3D-printed parts. At the same time, these are still early days and we’re looking forward to your feedback on this initial release. The mechanical parts and most of the software are ready for primetime, while other areas are less developed. The reflectors and display driver board are custom-made and expensive to produce in single units, but become cost-effective at scale. We’re also exploring how the custom components might be made more accessible to everyone.

Project North Star points a future where the physical and virtual worlds blend together into a single magical experience.

The headset features two 120 fps, 1600×1440 displays with a field of view covering over a hundred degrees combined. While the classic Leap Motion Controller’s FOV is significantly beyond existing AR headsets such as Microsoft Hololens and Magic Leap One, it felt limiting on the North Star headset. As a result, we used our next-generation ultra-wide tracking module. These new modules are already being embedded directly into upcoming VR headsets, with AR on the horizon.

Project North Star is very much a work in progress. Over the coming weeks, we’ll continue to post updates to the core release package. Let us know what you think in the comments and forum thread. If your company is interested in bringing North Star to the world, email us at [email protected].

It’s time to look beyond platforms and form factors, to the core user experience that makes augmented reality the next great computing medium. Let’s build it together.