Tomorrow I have two items coming in, the Leap Motion and a HoloKit. Thursday, the Vufine ARKit comes in to try. At some point, the LattePanda will be here completing everything I need for now.
I’m running on a Windows laptop purchased in November with 4GB RAM and 16GB Opteron. I also run on an iMac with 16GB RAM and a Debian 9 Parallels VM. All of them are quite fast enough to run what I’m doing right now.
Since I’m still testing, or haven’t started testing some of these we’ll have to wait on reviews until after I’ve done so. However, these are the items that I’m going to test my work with.
LattePanda 864 $358 + shipping — I didn’t need a full Windows activation since I have one. I was planning to run Debian before I decided that Windows is probably fine since currently, most AR/VR headsets are geared that direction.
Leap Motion $89.99 — I was going to do more work with OpenCV and gestures. Maybe move with a Kinect or some of the other options. I decided that I’d rather work with Leap Motion, for now. I’ve heard nothing but positive reviews. Their NorthStar project looks promising even if it looks horrible aesthetically it shows great results and that’s what matters. In the future, I’ll look at some of the other libraries I have earmarked for gestures, but I wanted something I could do now and not spend a lot of time coding.
3.5″ TFT HDMI $25 — Honestly, I thought this was a 7″ (I hear the jokes, I do) before I went to look in the parts box. I had purchased a 7″ and remembered that that one broke and I had this 3.5. It’s a great screen. I’ll get a 7 eventually, but if you want a great Raspberry Pi small screen this is it. There are some bigger screens 2x the price and capacitive touch. For now, I just need something to show an image.
Head rig $31.98 — This is a soft part. I expected it to be the hard plastic headgear of the past construction helmets. It’s quite comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. It’s very easy to adjust. Of the two that the NorthStar project recommended I chose this one and I chose wisely.
External Camera $19.99 — This is a cheap USB camera with a 5m cable. Yes. FIVE METERS. I knew that when I ordered. I still ordered. The camera quality is not what you see on the Amazon page. It’s not even close. It’s a USB camera. It’s not a high-end USB camera. It will do what I need it to do. I bought it because it was 20 bucks and I might need up to 4 for this project and 8 for my next project… so I didn’t want to spend 80 bucks for super nice cameras if I didn’t have to. We’ll see how this camera works with this first part of the project and go from there.
There are three AR viewers I chose.
HoloKit $36.99 — Not the most costly. This is actually the second one I found. I didn’t know about it when I purchased the first one. The videos and reviews look great. I’m looking forward to trying this out with my makeshift work. There is an SDK here.
Vufine AR Kit $9.99 — This looks like the HoloKit and can switch between AR and MR? I don’t know. The page for this kit vague, but if it works like the HoloKit then it’s the cheapest alternative.
AR Headset $66.99 — This one has little to no information about it. There is a YouTube video review here. I just happened to stumble across this headset the day it was posted to Amazon. I was watching another headset that looks similar to it. When they come in I’ll do a full review as well.
The first two will be problematic if I can’t figure a way to hold them up. I’m really, really, really hoping that any or all of them work well.
Total cost for this = $659.93 (including shipping of some items)
That’s not bad. I could’ve spent that on one of the other options that was proprietary and you still had to do your own Unity work. Or one of the options that only ran on Android, you connected to it, and you could design an app but you had no other choices. I wanted to be able to make my own apps that would run my way. The options are still open right now. Nodejs and Unity using sockets – I could do plenty with that too.
It’s not as low cost as I wanted. I was hoping for a Raspberry Pi at $35 bucks. Maybe after I get the system done I’ll go back and streamline it to run on a Pi stack or something… but 700 bucks for a HUD/HMD that you can do anything with? I think that’s a bargain. Let’s see how tomorrow evening’s testing goes with the AR/MR view first.