A company called Leap Motion is best known for its sensors that let you "touch" virtual reality objects, and now it's unveiled an augmented reality headset called Project North Star. It is promised to seamlessly blend the real and the digital that will give users a new level of control over AR worlds.
For now, it is only a blueprint that Leap Motion wants to open source so that other manufacturers can build on top of it. Interestingly, the claim is that the whole device can be built for less than $100 (US), though the final headset will probably end up costing more, and will need separate computers to power the headsets. Leap Motion is hoping to set a new standard for the way we interact with the AR objects projected before your eyes, with individual hand and even finger tracking.
The actual hardware for Project North Star includes two 3.5 inch LCD displays with a resolution of 1,600 x 1,440 pixels for each eye, and a field view that is 95 degrees high and 70 degrees wide. The integrated Leap Motion sensor track hand motion across 180 degrees horizontally and vertically. As for the looks, you can see for yourself. This is not something you would want to wear on a bus, but it might work at your desk or in a games room.
"Although this is an experimental platform right now, we expect that the design itself will spawn further endeavours that will become available to the rest of the world," writes Leap Motion's David Holz.
Despite the impressive specs, Leap Motion admits that the prototype still needs a lot of work before the blueprint is put out into the world, but it can definitely be seen as a peek of what's to come with regards to AR technology, particularly in terms of the quality of the displays and the accuracy of the object tracking.
In some of the demos which has been posted online, Leap Motion engineers show how virtual objects can fit exactly to a finger or to a hand, whether that's holding a digital cube in mid-air or selecting buttons on AR-generated menus. Leap Motion may, or may not, find partners willing to build on the Project North Star design, but this is certainly the direction that AR technology is heading towards.