Leap Motion, famous for building hand tracking hardware and software announced its move into the Augmented reality space with the project ‘North Star’- an augmented reality platform. They are planning to open source this project which includes a design for a headset that Leap Motion claims costs less than $100 at large-scale production.
Image Credits: Leap Motion Official Blog
Founded in 2010, Leap Motion first ventured into hand tracking technology by announcing their own set of motion controllers. This allowed users to interact with a computer by waving their hands, fingers, or other digits around to control games, maps, or other apps. While the technology was cool at that time, it was unimpressive to certain users because of the sensitivity of their controllers and the lack of apps available to play with.
But the company’s still around, and now Leap Motion is unveiling something that could be revolutionary, or it could just be another cool idea that fails to catch on.
Here’s a closer look:
Project North Star isn’t a new consumer headset, the company is also releasing the necessary hardware specifications, designs, and software under an open source license. The headset design uses two fast-refreshing 3.5-inch LCD displays with a resolution of 1600×1440 per eye with 120fps and a 100-degree field in view. It also features Leap Motion’s 180-degree hand tracking sensor. The company claims that it offers a wider range of view than most AR systems that exist today, specifically comparing it with Microsoft Hololens which offers a 70-degree field of view.
Most of the existing virtual reality and augmented reality headsets require handled controllers for input but with the Leap Motion sensor, users don’t need to hold anything in their hands at all.
Leap Motion doesn’t plan to sell the headset, but it’ll make the hardware and software open source. They hope that someone else will build and sell the headsets, which the company says could cost less than $100 to produce. David Holz, the chief technology officer at Leap Motion mentioned in a blog post that “Although this is an experimental platform right now, we expect that the design itself will spawn further endeavors that will become available for the rest of the world”. This suggests that with relatively low cost and open source hardware third parties can experiment with the technology.
While all these features sound promising, there are still plenty of details which are yet to be revealed. A thorough comparison with other prominent AR devices like Magic Leap and Hololens is necessary to identify Leap Motion’s true potential. Till then you can visit their Official Webpage to see some cool demos.