Leap Motion has long been manufacturing computer hardware sensor device that supports hand and finger gestures as input, analogous to a mouse, but requires no hand contact or touching.
Back in April, the company announced Project North Star, a next-gen AR headset that it said could be produced for $100 at scale. Today, Leap Motion announced it is open-sourcing North Star’s design and assembly guide under an Apache license, giving developers and users the ability to build their own AR headsets – a step that could advance AR’s role in productivity and PC gaming, reports Venture Beat.
It’s important to understand that Leap Motion doesn’t make or sell headsets. While the price tag of under-$100 is extremely low, it’s only an estimate of how much it would cost for another company to mass produce their own headset based on the Project Star reference design.
And if someone decided to take on such a task, the price tag for the headset would likely be a lot higher. The prototype headset made by Leap Motion appears to be good for a low-cost option.
According to mashable, there are 2 two ultra-bright, low-persistence displays with 1,600 x 1,440 resolution in the headset, with each running at 120 fps. Additionally, the field of view is over 100 degrees, which is remarkably better visual specs compared to what high-end VR headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive offer.
The most impressive part of the headset are the built-in hand-tracking gestures. The company says it has incorporated the same 180-degree hand-tracking technology it developed several years ago into Project North Star.
The technology allows you to reach out and touch and grab virtual objects with your hands without needing any special glove or controllers.
There are limitations to this technology though. Without gloves or a handheld controller, one cannot feel any kind of haptic feedback.
Leap Motion’s intention was to release the open-source details for Project North Star a week after it first disclosed the concept. However, the company delayed the release of the project details for reasons unknown. Now, the company has released the project details for anyone to see and to tinker with. The project files can be download from Leap Motion’s website, or it can be found on GitHub. The package includes detailed schematics for the mechanical bits and assembly instructions. The software for the package hasn’t been released yet, but Leap Motion intends to release Unity assets and a pre-warping algorithm to format scene output for the lenses in the headset. Also missing from the initial release are the electronics schematics, but the company promised it will share that information soon.