General FAQ

This page answers some more general northstar related questions. The other sections below it answer questions related to their respective topics.

have a question not mentioned here? Feel free to ask on the community Discord

What is Project North Star?

Project North Star is an open source augmented reality headset meant as a development platform for interaction prototyping it was initially released by leap motion in 2018 and continues to receive updates.

How can I build it?

Good Question! There are multiple variations of the reference design from leap motion. The reference design can be found on this page

How does project Northstar compare to other AR Platforms?

Project Northstar uses the same displays commonly used in VR headsets to provide a high resolution and high field of view experience.

Hardware Comparison



Hololens 2




Operating System

Windows, Linux

Windows Holographic




Stand Alone

Compute Pack*


Compute Pack





~52 Diagonal

~40 Diagonal



Software Comparison



Hololens 2




Device Tracking

Hand Tracking


Plane Tracking


Light Estimation

Environment Probes

Face tracking


Zed Mini



2D image tracking


Speech Input

Where can I get the lenses and electronic components?

While most of the design is 3d printable, there are components, like the screens, driver board, combiners, and leap motion controller that you will have to order. You can order your parts, upgrade kits, or fully assembled headsets here:

What are the Minimum System Requirements?

The minimum system requirements for Northstar can vary based on the type of application you want to run. Your system will need a display port connection that can output [email protected]

Minimum Requirements

Recommended Requirements

AMD Ryzen Quad Core or Equivalent

AMD Ryzen 6 or 8 Core Processor

8GB Ram

16GB Ram

Vega 8 GPU or MX150

Nvidia 1060 6GB or higher

What 3d printer should I get?

Most components fit within a print volume of 130mm*130mm*130mm, however the two largest prints will need a print volume of 220mm*200mm*120mm. It is possible for the parts to be split, using MeshMaker to allow them to fit on smaller print volumes. The ender series (220 x 220 x 250mm) by Creality seems to be a fan favorite among the discord if you're just getting started with 3d printing. If you want something that has a larger print area, check out the creality pro (300 x 300 x 400mm). If you want other recommendations, feel free to ask on the discord.

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How can I track my position?

The Intel RealSense T265 is the most commonly used device currently. It supports 6dof (degrees of freedom) but does not support world meshing.

The occipital structure core is great since it's cross platform and non GPU dependent and has more features, but it's more expensive than the Realsense. (Note that if you order this you need the black and white camera version and NOT the color version). There are members of occipital here in the discord to answer more questions, check out the #occipital-structure-core channel. Occipital has discontinued support of the perception engine and is no longer recommended.

If you have a windows PC with a 1070 or above you can use the Zed Mini, but it only works with Nvidia CUDA which limits its use.

If you have a Vive already, you can use a vive tracker for 6dof tracking, however the vive tracker requires external "lighthouse" base stations in order to function, making it more difficult to transport the headset or use it in different environments without extra setup.

What is Calibration?

Due to the nature of 3D printing and assembly each headset is going to be slightly unique and will require going through a calibration process to display the image correctly. There are currently two ways to calibrate a northstar headset. The first method uses two stereo cameras to calculate the 3D position of the displays and reflectors. The second method uses a single stereo camera, and is currently setup to be able to use the intel t265 camera, which we currently recommend for 6DOF. This allows northstar developers to reuse the t265 rather than purchase two seperate stereo cameras.