Projects

Building a DIY AR Device For Under $30

Frustrated with the price of Microsoft’s HoloLens and even the Meta 2 augmented reality headset, one designer set out to create a DIY version of his own.

As of right now, the HoloLens is only available to developers through an application process and will set you back $3,000. The much raved about Meta 2 headset comes in at a more affordable $949, but even that is still a hefty price tag for many to swallow.

That’s when designer and developer Sabba Keynejad set out to come up with a more affordably priced option of his own, which he calls the Polylens. The pricetag to make this DIY AR device? Under $30.

polylens-ar-diy

Now let’s be clear, this is in no way near the camera riddled augmented reality devices we think of when we talk about AR, but it’s a start to a more affordable AR device option in the future. Keynejad is hoping Polylens can do for AR what Cardboard did for VR.

Functional AR device or not, just watching it all come together is still fun and inspiring.

polylens-ar-diy-demo2

In the video shared on YouTube, Keynejad takes us through the whole process of whipping together the Polylens. Although it may look simple enough as a DIY project, there is definitely a trip to the local laser-cutting shop and plastic bonding that may put this slightly out of reach for the casual DIY hobbyist.

polylens-ar-diy5

To create the Polylens, Keynejad sketched out the designs in Illustrator, had a local laser-cutting shop shape the plastic parts, bonded the pieces together, polished and hacked together a preview concept app utilizing the Google Cardboard SDK. The final step was to place his phone on top of the device and look through the viewer window. Tested and satisfied.

From the look of things, Polylens is able to integrate digital information into the user’s view of the real world, providing a composite view that is representative of augmented reality and it looks pretty sleek.

polylens-ar-diy-demo

The exciting part of this whole DIY project though is Keynejad’s future plans to further build out the mobile app, incorporate the phone camera and integrate LeapMotion hand tracking, all while hoping to stay at an affordable price.

It’s experiments like the Polylens that we should only applaud, bringing us closer to an accessible AR device that we may one day find included in a magazine or a Happy Meal like we do today with Cardboard. Google Plastic anyone?

Polylens AR Device

Image Credit: Sabba Keynejad

About the Scout

Jonathan Nafarrete

Jonathan Nafarrete is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of VRScout.

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