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FeaturesMeet Litho: The Wearable Bluetooth Controller for Spatial Computing

The long wait for an efficient, intuitive and accessible way to create and interact with the magic of augmented reality is over. Litho lets you interact with all things digital in the real world. We made Litho for developers: to enable the pioneers of the future of AR to extend their creations into the real world spaces around us, paving the way for everyday spatial computing interactions. On a mission to put AR at everybody’s fingertips...
Maya Chaldecott3 months ago

The long wait for an efficient, intuitive and accessible way to create and interact with the magic of augmented reality is over. Litho lets you interact with all things digital in the real world.

We made Litho for developers: to enable the pioneers of the future of AR to extend their creations into the real world spaces around us, paving the way for everyday spatial computing interactions. On a mission to put AR at everybody’s fingertips (literally), Nat Martin and Charlie Bruce founded Litho in 2018. I joined the Team earlier this year as Director of Brand and Community, excited by their big vision for the next generation of AR. 

   

Litho connects to your phone or headset using bluetooth. You wear it on your index and middle fingers and interact using taps, swipes and gestures. The trackpad on the underside also provides haptic feedback to make your interactions feel more real. Litho is super easy to learn to use (it takes most people around 30 seconds).

Using data from the camera and sensors in the controller, Litho’s tracking software outputs an estimate of the position and rotation of your hand – relative to the smartphone/headset that Litho is connected to.

Litho was announced in February 2019 with articles in The Verge and TechCrunch and after months of development we recently started shipping v1 of the controller to our Beta applicants. The Litho community already consists of 100s of developers and it’s nothing short of amazing to see people making cool stuff with Litho. Check out one of my favourite creations from last month: Ziyang Wen’s generative tree experiment (watch right until the end!). 

The SDK gives you Litho’s transform in Unity and lets you put this context-aware pointing information to any use you like: draw, manipulate objects, shoot, scrub through volumetric video, scroll through data, distort sound and so on. Take for example developer Charlie Fuller’s integration with his QuickFrameApp where Litho adds enormous value by enabling the precise movement and placement of a picture on a wall.

There are ready-to-go example scenes to play with in the Litho SDK as well as a framework of flexible interactions for creation, positioning, scaling, precise rotation of objects, and context and UI menu presets for controlling objects or game settings. 

We also decided early on that we wanted to make Litho cross-platform and output agnostic so that you can create Unity apps for AR headsets whilst also building for iOS and Android. This way, many more people will get to try complex Litho AR experiences at a relatively low cost.

While many seem to be focusing on creating the perfect AR headset right now, we believe mobile AR is an uncharted land of spatial experience. Litho is the key to its discovery. In 2020, the addition of time of flight (ToF) cameras to smartphones – in combination with Google Cardboard-style AR headsets – will take mobile AR’s potential even further. It’s a sure bet that augmented reality will become ubiquitous at some point in the future, but who knows what our spatial interactions in these new worlds will look and feel like? Our budding Litho developer community are beginning to decide just that.

The controller comes with an SDK for Unity which gives you a complete toolkit for creating spatial AR experiences, all for $199.

Stay tuned for a follow-up article with tips and tricks about developing with Litho.

 

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Maya Chaldecott

Maya has been Director of Brand and Community at LITHO since March 2019. Before that, Maya worked as a researcher in psychotherapy and VR, scent in immersive experiences, and the dynamics of AR creator communities, having studied a Masters in Digital Anthropology (UCL).

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