How to create your own AR headset

Ivan Kolesar

Keith Mellingen

Half-day workshop - in English

AR stands for Augmented Reality. Augmented reality is an interactive experience of extending the real-world by the computer-generated information. The real world is augmented, which gives the name to the set of technology solutions. Recently, we see the growing interest from the side of hardware manufacturers, developers and researchers to bring the technology to the life of every-day consumers. The Benefits that the consumers could potentially get from AR are more visible if we even imagine the amount of data we are collecting about the world, but not showing back.

 

AR algorithms solution set, coupled by computer vision field, has traveled quite a road. From the simple solutions of just drawing geometry (or information) in front of the users field of view, through additively more and more complex solutions such as detecting the markers, images, motion-tracking, spatial mapping, object recognition, hand gestures interaction, face recognition and more and more.

 

Accordingly is following up the development of necessary hardware. From the simple AR glasses, to full mounted AR headsets supported by their own computational units, mobiles or PCs. Actually, the number of AR headsets is still growing over several past years, some interesting examples would be Hololens, Magic Leap One, Meta 2, or MagiMask. All of them are having a mixed degree of good/not-so-good specifications for AR, like field of view, available processing power and sometimes overly high price. Luckily most of them share the same development platform from the family of the game engines Unity or Unreal Engine.

 

To overcome the fragmentation of the specification, and also to open the door for the possibility of having the best solution have emerged Project North Star. Project North Star is an open-source solution for AR headset originally developed by Leap Motion company. The documentation allows quite an extensive degree of customization for the headset, from the size of the display panels showing the content, their resolution, size of the lenses, up to the type of used sensors. We are no longer limited by the hardware, but rather we are allowed to extend or change hardware by our, and our customers, need. This customization allows us to customize the hardware part of the AR development for the customers, which is a valuable extension to the existing set of AR headsets.

 

We have analyzed the project and constructed our own, simplified version of the headset. This headset is our simplest and cheapest version from where we plan to do extensions. In our lighting talk (workshop) we will present the pitfalls of the creation of the headset, the results and upcoming possibilities to continue. Many of our solutions can be used by the general public and by sharing know-how of hardware creation and repository to some basic demos we aim to expand the development and public opinion for the usage of this exciting technology.

 

At first, we will look more deeply into mechanical parts necessary for the AR headset to hold all the electronics in the right position. We will demonstrate the possibilities of changing the shape of the headset in available 3D modeler software. Moreover, we will cover the part of 3D printing, from the printer preparation stage, choice of the materials, cleaning-up the resulting parts and final assembly. Afterwards, we will cover the assembly of electronics (such as display panels and sensors) into the headset with the calibration.

 

Secondly, we will present the existing development platform used by us – Unity – to create great AR solutions and set of simple technological demos, which we will share to the public via Github. We will prepare set of AR headsets with the different specification and one codebase structure (framework-like), which can run on each of them. Initially we will run through the set of existing small demos and at the we will end the session by leaving the developers to try the headsets with the demos and to try to create something by themselves. At the end the developers should get the knowledge and experience base for creation and usega of their own AR-headset.

 

Primarily for: Developers (can you adjust who else? Might be also some positions more away from the technology)

 

Participant Requirements: Laptop capable of running Unity and outputting two HDMI signals.

Primarily for: Developers

Participant requirements: Just their laptop, but needs to be powerful enough to run two HDMI screens. Also, cables and adapters to output hdmi signals.