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View Full Version : Budget TrackIR 6dof alternative



indy007
12-09-2008, 05:04 PM
http://www.free-track.net/english/

Using a webcam and 3 IR Leds, you can get 6dof head tracking. It works similar to a TrackIR, but at far cheaper cost. The software is free, open source. Shouldn't be difficult to integrate into anybody working on a Windows based project.

I'm building one right now. I'll post how it turns out.

Somebody else's rig: (mine will use much more tape and be far less classy)

http://www.free-track.net/images/point_model_gallery/dggoofy_01.jpg

Usage footage:
YouTube - Free-Track 6DOF - Highlight Video
YouTube - Zero Testflight with Freetrack - IL2 Sturmavich
YouTube - Handsfree operation on WindowsXP - Hands-free Windows usage

Adrenalynn
12-09-2008, 07:09 PM
That's a pretty cool find!

I'm tempted to see how it works with a Wiimote (100fps with almost 0 cpu load...)

sthmck
12-09-2008, 08:48 PM
This is really cool. Love to try it out in a fps.

indy007
12-10-2008, 11:40 AM
That's a pretty cool find!

I'm tempted to see how it works with a Wiimote (100fps with almost 0 cpu load...)


Wiimote support is supposed to be coming in the next version. I'm looking forward to it myself. Last night I experimented a bit. The software works. It saw the IR LEDs I rigged up. I did have some issues though. Background lighting was too much, and the LEDs were not as bright as I wanted. The reflection of the monitor's light on my face kept showing up also.

This evening I'll be grabbing some 35mm film to use as an external filter, and gutting the camera to remove any IR filter in it. That's supposed to improve performance significantly.

4mem8
12-10-2008, 11:47 AM
M'mmm I like it, Interesting project indy007.

ScuD
12-10-2008, 12:33 PM
This evening I'll be grabbing some 35mm film to use as an external filter, and gutting the camera to remove any IR filter in it. That's supposed to improve performance significantly.


On a sidenote, you can use an old floppy (the actual magnetic carrier inside, the round floppy plastic thingie) as a great IR filter in case you don't have any developed 35mm film laying around.

Used it just last week over my webcam to see how much IR light my fluorescent magnifier lamp puts out.

Surprising images created all over the place!

http://users.telenet.be/svendecock/robot/non-IR.jpg
http://users.telenet.be/svendecock/robot/IR.jpg

Adrenalynn
12-10-2008, 02:54 PM
Actually, WiiMote support seems to be in this version. There's a dozen reports of it working on the forum, and it worked out of the box for me (with a single hand-held IR LED as a test)

indy007
12-10-2008, 04:31 PM
On a sidenote, you can use an old floppy (the actual magnetic carrier inside, the round floppy plastic thingie) as a great IR filter in case you don't have any developed 35mm film laying around.

I actually found that exact solution in their faq. After tearing apart my place... I managed to come up with no film, and no floppy disks. Not the happiest camper right now. :(


Actually, WiiMote support seems to be in this version. There's a dozen reports of it working on the forum, and it worked out of the box for me (with a single hand-held IR LED as a test)

Sweet. Their compatible hardware said Wii support wasn't coming until a future version, and would require bluetooth. Now I'm running around with a Wiimote taped to my ballcap... we'll see how this goes :)

Adrenalynn
12-10-2008, 04:46 PM
Actually, the Wiimote is the camera - it shouldn't be taped to your cap, it should be on your monitor. It's a 100FPS camera with almost 0 cpu load. I'm running it with BlueSoliel.

I believe from the forums that the compatibility list is out of date.

@sthmck - I think this has a lot of applicability for Mech Wars. Being able to control the PT of the camera with head tracking is pretty substantial, IMHO. A lot of immersion if nothing else, but being able to look around and spot your enemies rather than walking around staring straight ahead has to be an advantage.

indy007
12-10-2008, 06:17 PM
@sthmck - I think this has a lot of applicability for Mech Wars. Being able to control the PT of the camera with head tracking is pretty substantial, IMHO. A lot of immersion if nothing else, but being able to look around and spot your enemies rather than walking around staring straight ahead has to be an advantage.

So I can stop wearing it now? :veryhappy:

Tremendous advantage for any type of combat really. It's become a standard feature of air superiority fighters & attack helicopters for awhile. Mount a camera on a pan & tilt, mount your airsoft cannon to the top, drop it on a pair of legs, and off you go. Simple & effective.

I don't know how it'll behave in bright light conditions though. If MechWars is in a brightly lit spot, I could see it having some issues. Somebody should test it and chime in, I won't pick mine back up until this weekend :(

sthmck
12-10-2008, 07:22 PM
@sthmck - I think this has a lot of applicability for Mech Wars. Being able to control the PT of the camera with head tracking is pretty substantial, IMHO. A lot of immersion if nothing else, but being able to look around and spot your enemies rather than walking around staring straight ahead has to be an advantage.

Actually I was thinking the same thing in the middle of my math final today. I am going to grab some IR leds from the electronics lab tomorrow when I get to school and see if I can get it up and running. I was going to use two joysticks to control my mech, (one for camera, the other for movement) but if I can get this to work coolness.

Adrenalynn
12-10-2008, 07:40 PM
The thing worth noting is that the Wiimote is not a hacked-up webcam. It's an extremely high resolution IR cam specifically designed and engineered for variable lighting situations and with a quidzillion dollars riding on it working pretty darned well 99% of the time. Gamers have zero tolerance for consoles that screw-up. Nintendo has all the money and all the engineers in the world to make sure that they don't. That makes the Wiimote pretty attractive in this application, IMHO.

sthmck
12-10-2008, 07:46 PM
Hold on. Are we talking about the hand held part or the little thing you put on the tv? Im not really sure how that stuff all works. The only Nintendo products I play are the NES and super.

sthmck
12-10-2008, 07:48 PM
Wait take that back I have an N64 I play every once in a while too.

Adrenalynn
12-10-2008, 09:05 PM
The Wiimote - the handheld part - is a very high resolution IR camera, as well as having a 3 axis accelerometer. It talks over Bluetooth (hence the low load). That camera in it is 1024x768x100hz (100fps), super low latency, with all the filtering done at the wiimote side.

[edit] Oh - and the genuine Wiimote camera can track up to four moving IR simultaneous. Don't get the Wu knockoff for a few dollars less, it can only track two. Two = 2DOF, 3 = 6DOF.

sthmck
12-10-2008, 09:26 PM
Ok thanks for the clarification. Now to go grab a Wiimote.

indy007
12-11-2008, 08:03 AM
Ok thanks for the clarification. Now to go grab a Wiimote.

Get the rechargable battery pack if you're spending the money. Best upgrade for the Wii possible. When you're done, stick it on the cradle and come back later.

ooops
12-11-2008, 08:09 AM
Great find Indy007 - +rep for sharing!!!
Adrenalynn - thanks for the heads up.

ScuD
12-11-2008, 03:20 PM
One thing that bugs me about this system; isn't it annoying to have to move your head only to make sure your eyes stay on the same spot where the actual action is?

Meaning, you look left, but the screen is still right in front of you.. I guess the sensitivity can be adjusted to accomodate smaller range of motion, but I'd have to try it before I could commit to it's useability..

indy007
12-12-2008, 08:05 AM
You get used to it. It's a very popular add-on for flight sim players. Something like 1 in 5 Aces High 2 players use it, and they're some of the finest dog fighters on the net.

Adrenalynn
12-12-2008, 12:52 PM
For the ultimate immersion, an HMD (Head Mounted Display) combined with a free-space tracker is the be-all-end-all - but just having head tracking w/6DOF is amazingly immersive, IMHO. The brain adjusts very quickly to any kind of body-computer direct interface, vs eye-hand coordination.

indy007
12-14-2008, 09:17 PM
For the ultimate immersion, an HMD (Head Mounted Display) combined with a free-space tracker is the be-all-end-all - but just having head tracking w/6DOF is amazingly immersive, IMHO. The brain adjusts very quickly to any kind of body-computer direct interface, vs eye-hand coordination.

HMD is sweet, but here's more of what I'm aiming for...

Head Tracking plus something close to this...
http://www.viperpits.org/smf/gallery/albums/userpics/10002/normal_549_award.jpg

mounted in the middle of something like this...
YouTube - Full Motion Sim on F16, Buzzing the Acropolis

I have Joyrider plans laying around. I think mounting it on some rails with a linear actuator could up it to 3dof.

Falcon 4's shared mem format gives it to you all :) 3 monitors with a matrox tripple head, functional mfds, guages, lights, and switches. Very easy to code for. With that monster controller you mentioned in the other thread, it just got really affordable to do everything properly.