Leap Motion, a company known for its experimental computing technology, is debuting a new platform that is expected to minimize the obstacles found in AR and VR solutions, says CoDesign. The platform, called Project North Star, is “an effort to get us closer to that magical turning point” where users feel immersed in AR and VR worlds.
According to CoDesign, Project North Star “combines Leap Motion’s precise real-time hand tracking (eliminating the need for controllers) with a new, Leap Motion-designed headset–as well as a new UX philosophy,” which results in a “natural mixed-reality computing paradigm.” While the headset piece of the solution is a prototype, the goal of the product is to serve as an open source reference platform for manufacturers and designers.
“It projects 1,600 x 1,440 pixels at 120 frames per second for each eye, and has a combined field of view of 100 degrees;” plus, it accurately tracks hand and finger movements in real time, right in front of the user. “This hardware is crucial to make your brain believe that the AR layer is actually part of reality,” CoDesign says.
While Project North Star is not readily available yet, CoDesign says that the key to making the product ubiquitous and successful is the user experience. Most VR platforms use gestures, such as waving a hand, or hardware interfaces, such as a controller, to manipulate the virtual world around them. However, Project North Star stands apart from other AR and VR solutions because it allows users “to manipulate objects like we would in real life, if not truly ‘touch’ them.”
What decision makers need to know:
Decision makers who feel that this product would benefit their business or institution should keep the following in mind: because Project North Star is new in the AR and VR space, it is a solution that needs to be learned, especially when it comes to how to drive it with your hands. “These gestures feel futuristic, but they require to be learned so you can’t just base your entire interface on them,” CoDesign says. It will also take time for end users, including employees, to accept and grow accustomed to using the solution, since humanity “is already struggling with the powerful draw of immersive technology in the form of five-inch screens.”
However, Keiichi Matsuda, Leap Motion’s VP of design and global creative director, has faith that Project North Star will play a positive role in multiple industries in the long run. “We are moving into a new age of extremely powerful technologies–immersive tech, AI and automation, synthetic biology, and pervasive computing, to name just a few,” Matsuda told CoDesign. “These technologies will have huge consequences within our lifetimes, and it’s our responsibility to understand them and proactively guide them to shape a world that we want to actually live in.”