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Microsoft HoloLensMicrosoft has hinted at the imminent release of a piece of hardware they call the HoloLens, and the software giant says it “goes beyond augmented reality and virtual reality by enabling you to interact with three-dimensional holograms blended with your real world.”

That’s some mighty big talk.

Microsoft says HoloLens is not simply a heads-up display, it’s a promise of high-definition holograms and the ability to interact with three-dimensional holograms in the real world. They say the system will deliver, with no cords, no phones, no wires, and no tethers, via a lightweight and adjustable headset, holograms, and built-in “spatial sound” capability distributed throughout a room. We covered the announcement back in January.

Of course, that kind of vision has sent DIY engineers into paroxysms of joy and spurred a number of efforts to develop hardware for the system.

Sean Hall

Sean Hall

Sean Hall has built an end run around Microsoft with this 3D printed prototype, a pair of VR goggles which use Pepper’s Ghost illusion to create a hologram.

Hall 3D printed an enclosure like others before it, but with a twist. Hall’s device mounts a smartphone above the 3D printed goggles, and then uses a mirror and a piece of transparent plexiglass to locate and display the image.

Hall, a VR game programmer and software engineer in Marietta, GA, took on developing his hardware after deciding to start work on building HoloLens apps.

His DIY HoloLens device cost him just $10 in materials, and he says it projects any mobile phone image to an enlarged version 16″ from the eye.

“I plan to add a Leap Motion, depth sensor, and/or tracking to be able to interact with virtual objects,” Hall says. “A friend found a product called one-way mirror film. It is usually used on windows in the home to let light in but still provide privacy. I ordered some to try on the piece of plexiglass. Hopefully, the silvering will not only make the image brighter, but also allow me to remove the film from the back side – which blurs the outside world slightly – although given how rough around the edges this whole thing is, may be hiding some focus issues for various distances, and be for the better in the end.”

Sean Hall DIY HoloLens To make the device, Hall says he used PLA and his Printrbot Simple Metal to print his design made in Simplify3D.

“I’m still new to this, so I haven’t had a chance to experiment with ABS, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work,” Hall says of the material selection. “The parachute-style buckles probably prefer PLA’s flexibility over ABS, but the rest should be fine. I may try out semi-rigid Ninjaflex next.”

You can find the files to print out your own version on Thingiverse.

What do you think about Sean Hall’s “DIY HoloLens” setup? Can you see any potential uses for his design? Let us know in the 3D Printed HoloLens forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the video below to see the DIY setup in action (and try not to get that soundtrack stuck in your head!) to get an idea of the headset.


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