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Leap Motion to open source North Star AR platform

Headset with Leap Motion hand tracking sensor can be produced for $100 a unit at scale

Leap Motion will open source the hardware and software related to a new "full augmented reality platform", which it hopes will become a template for headsets in the future.

The platform is called North Star, and it was designed based on components from, "the next generation of VR systems." According to a blog post from CTO David Holz, it has, "two low-persistence 1600×1440 displays pushing 120 frames per second with an expansive visual field over 100 degrees."

Crucially, it has Leap Motion's 180° hand tracking sensor, which allows a greater fidelity of interaction with virtual objects. Holz said that North Star is, "a system unlike anything anyone had seen before."

"All of this was possible while keeping the design of the North Star headset fundamentally simple - under one hundred dollars to produce at scale," Holz said. "So although this is an experimental platform right now, we expect that the design itself will spawn further endeavors that will become available to the rest of the world."

Holz continued: "We hope that these designs will inspire a new generation of experimental AR systems that will shift the conversation from what an AR system should look like, to what an AR experience should feel like."

To that end, Leap Motion will make the hardware and related software open source next week, and in the meantime it will publish a series of blog posts detailing the process of creating North Star.

In the first of those, Holz said: "Putting this headset on, the resolution, latency, and field of view limitations of today's systems melt away and you're suddenly confronted with the question that lies at the heart of this endeavor: What shall we build?"

Leap Motion closed a $50 million funding round in July last year.

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Matthew Handrahan


Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.