Building the world’s most advanced augmented reality headset isn’t exactly for beginners. But at the world’s first #BuildYourNorthStar workshop, over 20 participants built their own open-source Project North Star headsets in just 48 hours – using components now available to everyone.

The workshop took place in Sunnyvale, CA, just after AWE. It was hosted by Polaris AR (part of product development company NOA Labs) in cooperation with Occipital, whose tracking and depth camera solution Structure Core made inside-out positional tracking possible.

In support of the event, our team donated Leap Motion Controllers. Our CTO David Holz and engineer/AR tennis champion Jonathon Selstad joined the workshop, along with former Leap Motion engineer Adam Munich.

Noah’s North Star Development Journey

Noah Zerkin, one of the workshop co-hosts and R&D Project Manager at NOA Labs, has been sharing his own North Star development journey on Twitter:

Noah has been active in the augmented reality and open hardware communities for over a decade. He had experience building homebrew data gloves and mocap systems for years before discovering Leap Motion. Noah created what may be the first 3D-printable mount for the Leap Motion Controller on the Oculus DK1 in 2013.

Last year, Noah took the leap by building his own North Star headset with custom-produced reflectors and hardware. This isn’t as crazy as it sounds – as R&D project manager at NOA Labs, he lives in Shenzhen, one of the biggest prototyping and manufacturing hubs on the planet.

Realizing they could help other AR developers by providing pre-produced North Star components, Noah Zerkin and NOA Labs created Polaris AR. It enables developers, makers, and organizations to purchase standalone modules, kits, and accessories for Project North Star – as well as ready-assembled and calibrated headsets. Supported by NOA Labs, Polaris AR also plans to offer Project North Star customization options.

Project North Star Components Now Available for Everyone

The North Star augmented reality headset.

The workshop was “epic,” says Noah. “Every possible hitch we ran into got taken care of by one participant or another. By the end, everybody had a working world-class AR headset to take home. Thanks to the stellar group of people who chose to join us for this event, it really couldn’t have gone better.”

While NOA Labs and Polaris AR are making the components of Project North Star available to the broader community, Leap Motion continues to advance the core technology. You can learn more about the #BuildYourNorthStar workshop in Noah’s Polaris AR blog post, and get your own modules, kits, and accessories here.

Closeup of the North Star augmented reality headset.
The North Star augmented reality headset with Leap Motion hand tracking.