DIY Hololens

by FultonX, published

DIY Hololens by FultonX Mar 12, 2015
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I wanted to go ahead and develop Hololens apps. Here is Microsoft's live demo video: https://youtu.be/qym11JnFQBM

After experimenting and seeing a couple AR kickstarters, I figured out a way to develop comparable hardware... at least for prototyping. https://youtu.be/omNDLQ4cKnY

The HMD costs ~$10 and it projects any mobile phone image enlarged at 16" from the eye.

I plan to add a Leap Motion, depth sensor, and/or tracking to be able to interact with virtual objects. Please share! https://twitter.com/seanfultonhall

Edit: TBD items:
Google Tango tablet integration:
All inclusive sensors and mobile form-factor (fastest road to victory):
Without Google Tango:
Depth sensor could also just be a head mounted Kinect using: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:5601
Head tracking could be done with Playstation Move.me at first: http://code.google.com/p/moveme/
Added ideas not on the real Hololens:
Pupil tracking idea here: http://sourceforge.net/projects/haytham/?source=navbar or http://code.google.com/p/pupil/

Update 2015-09-07: Added the two files I used as the base. If you leave off the additional reflector piece, you can experiment with moving the display and lens and even adding more fresnel lenses (easily obtained at Office Depot and online). I had trouble combining them into one mesh. I apologize for it taking so long. I figured this would be at least better for those who have big enough printers to spit this thing out in one shot. I'll keep working on the one-piece version.

Update 2015-12-09: I haven't been able to try the real Hololens yet, but from what I can gather, the real Hololens has narrower FOV and does not use pupil tracking for gaze tracking as I have suggested here. From what I have heard, you must point your entire head at things and the FOV is super tiny... can anyone tell me if this is true? I hope to demo it soon, but have been having a lot of near misses when it comes to opportunities to try it for myself. Also I have not been able to determine at what distance the Hololens projects images and whether it is dynamic. Any information would be greatly appreciated and will inspire me to get this thing finished. I appreciate any patience up until this point, as I am transitioning work wise and haven't been able to pursue the software side of things whole-heartedly yet.
The Google Tango tablet is a great platform on which all the sensors and processing necessary for the Hololens experience are present. It currently cost $512 compared to the $3000 pricetag on the Hololens. It will probably require separating the screen from the sensors on the back of the tablet, but if anyone has one and is interested, they are but a few steps away from completing the DIY Hololens experience.


Cut a piece of 2.5mm thick plexi-glass or other reflective-transparent material to 95mm x 127mm (or longer). Something akin to this http://www.homedepot.com/p/LEXAN-11-in-x-14-in-x-0-093-in-Clear-Polycarbonate-Sheet-GE-34/205437907?N=5yc1vZbrdg You may have to file the slot that holds it, but otherwise it should slide into place nicely. I actually left the protective film on one side to help with reflection, even at the cost of blurring the real world a little. If you remove it from both sides, there will be a sharp "ghost," or slightly offset double image. I will try some one-way film soon.

Currently I have this mirror mounted inside: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008MB1AZ8/ref=pe_385040_127541860_TE_3p_dp_1 but I'm thinking I need more curvature, so I may replace with bike rear-view or something similiar. Simply mount centered, convex side up, on the inside of the 45 degree angled part on top.

And one of these magnifiers is inside as well: http://www.officedepot.com/a/products/787235/Carson-MagniMark-Magnifier/ Cut length down to 153mm (cut off the end with the tie on it) and place over the opening that is created on top before gluing on the two final "additional-reflector" parts.

Otherwise, just print and stick (hot glue) the pieces together. I used support material and simply had to rotate some of the pieces to a more suitable orientation for supports.

Oh and weather stripping for the face padding! Pending: an actual mount for the phone. I made it for Note3/4, and currently you need to use gaffer's tape or your fingers to hold the phone in place during use. Also pending is a Leap Motion or depth sensor mount for virtual object manipulation. I may even add a Raspberry Pi and camera for gaze detection.

Edit: TBD items:
Google Tango tablet integration:
All inclusive sensors and mobile form-factor (fastest road to victory):
Without Google Tango:
Depth sensor could also just be a head mounted Kinect using: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:5601
Head tracking could be done with Playstation Move.me at first: http://code.google.com/p/moveme/
Added ideas not on the real Hololens:
Pupil tracking idea here: http://sourceforge.net/projects/haytham/?source=navbar or http://code.google.com/p/pupil/

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Are you supposed to print the parts with 3 cuts? or should it be fine printing the whole parts?

The "additional reflector" is necessary, and provided as two options: whole(1 file), and cut into 2 halves(2 files), but you only need to print one of the two options (1 or 2 files, depending on your choice). The entire DIY Hololens is also optionally provided as one piece(1 file), in which case that is the only file you would have to print with no need for the additional reflector.
Otherwise you must print each other file that I have not mentioned above, along with one of the two additional reflector options (1 or 2 files, your choice, as mentioned above).

It all depends on your printer bed size and quality of support generation. I had to use the all the "cut" pieces, both for the base and the additional reflector with my Printrbot Simple Metal

I have had a private demo of HoloLens. PM me if you have questions.

Hello fultonx, I love your project. What if you were to flip the smartphone around so it could be used as a periscope. I tried this idea and it works really well, as you do not have to flip any images on the screen and you can still use the smart phone's own camera. Also, I found that instead of using a concave/convex mirror, a flat one works just as well. Also, to greater simulate the holo lens experience, why not use the holo lens emulator along with a remote desktop connection from your smartphone to a computer. Then you could use a leap motion sensor to control the holograms, and you would not have to build any custom software. Please try to experiment with these ideas and let me know if they work for you!

Oh, also because flipping the iphone/mirror design around may cause strain on the head because of the uneven weight, why not add a 3rd head strap also connected to the top of a person's head. I think this might make the entire project more comfortable to test. Thank you for your time!

I love the periscope idea! I have not had a chance to try yet, but I'm sure a third strap would do wonders. There is acutally a slot for it (kinda) on the headset, as placed by the designer of the vr headset model on which I based my design. Just need to go to his and print the buckles: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:554259 and give it a shot. Good luck!

Note4VR Version 4

Wow, dropped the ball and lost it down the sewer drain on this one... coming soon, my apologies.

I will be putting the whole piece file up soon. Sorry for the wait!

I would love to construct this soon, but i am too impatient to print all the parts. Could you possibly uploaded a version with whole pieces instead of two halfs? Thanks for your consideration

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 plexi-glass. 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 lol, we'll see). http://www.amazon.com/Gila-PRS361-Daytime-Privacy-36-Inch/dp/B000H5XTKG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426261965&sr=8-1&keywords=one+way+mirrored+film

I used PLA on my Printrbot Simple Metal using Simplify3D. 204 degrees, but otherwise standard settings for PLA for any software should do. Some pieces may need a raft to hold all the support material to the bed, it just depends on your printer. 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. The parachute-style buckles probably prefer PLA's flexibility over ABS's, but the rest should be fine. I may try out semi-rigid Ninjaflex next. Otherwise, please post results if you or anyone tries alternate materials. Thanks!

What's the material for the headset?

Yes! The convex mirror helps project the image further away from the eyes, and combats the distortion from the magnifier. Thank you for the feedback, I'm updating the instructions now.

The mirror is not very curved. It is akin to a small make-up mirror, and was simply the first one I tried. My current guess is that the more convex the mirror is, the further away the image will appear. But more distortion will crop up, alluding to a need for either more magnification (which could mean more FOV potentially), software correction of the image prior (still cool because the further the image is, the more comfortable it might be to focus on it), or finally, both. At the current currently configured 16" mark, it is perfect for arm distance and thus, hand manipulation of the virtual objects.

Please experiment and share what you find!

I assume the mirror is placed convex side facing the phone? Cool prototype, I should be printing one soon.
Edit: If I'm looking for another mirror, about how curved is yours? you mentioned a bike mirror, which I could pick up locally.