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Cheap TrackIR alternative with only a small amount of DIY


Poneybirds
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Hi

 

Just wanted to share my experience with a cheap solution for headtracking. I bought a TrackIR 2 a couple of years ago but can't use it as there is no software anymore to support it.

 

So this is what I did:

1. Buy a PS3 eyecam second hand for 7 €

2. Buy a DelanClip for 31 € (25 GBP)

3. Build and attach a filter to convert the webcam to receive IR only

4. Use FacetrackNOIR, which supports DCS without any hassles in the latest release

 

I did not open the webcam to remove any IR-filters. It was just not needed. I tested using a floppy disc to filter out visible light, but it did also dim down the IR light spectrum too much.

 

So I ended up building something myself by using multiple transparent colored foils which are used in photography for coloring flash lights. I got them of ebay for a few euros some years ago but only use the light yellow and green shades for photography. Using some strong colors did the job, even though I can still look through with my eyes. The webcam is not sensitive enough to pick up light dimmed down that much.

 

To attach the foils to the camera I ended up cutting the top 6 or 7 mm of a water bottle and using it's cap. See the pictures below. The result actually works quite nicely and is a lot better than my TrackIR 2, which has no support for 6dof out of the box. I have had no opportunity to compare against TrackIR 5 so far.

 

 

2014-06-02%2022.47.42.jpg

 

2014-06-02%2022.53.06.jpg

 

2014-06-02%2022.55.23.jpg

 

2014-06-02%2022.56.12.jpg

 

2014-06-02%2022.59.30.jpg

 

 

Maybe this post will inspire a few people and enable them to get into headtracking. Now if only learning to fly would be as easy as this... working on that :)

 

- Poneybirds


Edited by Poneybirds
Fixed image links
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The PS3 Eye is a great headtracking camera. I usually run it at 640x480@75FPS, but the ability to run at 180FPS is pretty nice.

 

I use mine with freetrack. I think I'll have to check out facetracknoir because freetrack hasn't been updated in some time and can be a bit finicky.

 

I hadn't seen that clip before. I can't believe they're able to sell them for that much! You can make one for a couple bucks. I guess I'll have to put my 3d printer to work and start putting IR clips on ebay. :)

i5-4670K@4.5GHz / 16 GB RAM / SSD / GTX1080

Rift CV1 / G-seat / modded FFB HOTAS

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Hi Rico

 

I run the cam at 640x480@60Hz. My systems runs DCS with 25 to 50 FPS most of the time, so I have not yet bothered with changing anything in that respect.

 

About the price, I was trying to find the best possible compromise of time vs. money invested for me. I have limited time so I'd rather play the game than build a clip by myself. Also my version would have not been as sturdy as the DelanClip and I probably would have ended up re-iterating the design many times before getting the desired result. Tomasz has it all figured out already and is doing a great job.

 

With this approach a headtracking system is about 40 € and about 90 minutes of time to get it to work. With proper tools (all I have is kitchen equipment and two hands) you can do this much faster and better.

 

Safe landings!

- Poneybirds

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Hi Mike

 

I tried opentrack but when I press "start", the tracking does not really "lock" and start doing it's thing on the 3 points in the camera picture. This works fine in other tools (FacetrackNOIR and freetrack). I have no joy on the little numbers indicating yaw/roll/pitch and x/y/z. The 3 dots are marked with crosshairs and pointtracker says "3 OK".

 

Anything vital I am missing here?

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Do the "raw translation/rotation" values under the video show anything?

Did you define the point model dimensions in the Point Tracker settings?

Make sure you select the "clip" tab and not any other one- it actually sets the point model selection.

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Hi Mike

 

Thanks, point model dimensions have been missing completely. Now it works and it does seem really smooth. Would have to do a side-by-side comparison though to find out how it's different from FacetrackNOIR, though.

 

Which filter do you prefer? I see 3 different ones have no clue which one is best for which situation.

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Hi Mike

 

Thanks, point model dimensions have been missing completely. Now it works and it does seem really smooth. Would have to do a side-by-side comparison though to find out how it's different from FacetrackNOIR, though.

 

Which filter do you prefer? I see 3 different ones have no clue which one is best for which situation.

 

Accela Mk4, this is the main reason for using the point tracker with Opentrack :)

The default settings are way too laggy.

Try rotation/translation values at about 40, order 2 is 1.5, order 3 is 2, deadband zero and exponent 1.8.

You can change the values to fit your needs (changing a value by even 0.5 will a noticeable effect), either more responsive and "noisy" or slightly lower response time and much smoother.

Here's a more accurate explanation:

https://github.com/opentrack/opentrack/wiki/Accela-filter

 

I must say, version 2.2a2 is weird for me. I can't get it to track smoothly with as fast a response time as I get with the older version 2.0b3. I used to be able to move the virtual head in a nice circle, rather quickly, but now it tries to stick to moving in straight lines. Back to 2.0b3 for me.


Edited by 69iAF~Mike
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Hi Mike

 

Thanks for the hints.

 

I noticed recently the author changed two values from milliseconds to nanoseconds, which might be the reason for your erratic behavior. It's in the changelogs.

If that is the case, you can try changing the "order" stuff from 1.8 to 1800 and see if it helps.

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... of development I do not recommend opentrack as you have to configure a lot manually.

 

Other tools are more polished and better suited for the casual gamer. They have a more out-of-the-box attitude.

 

I guess opentrack is more like the bleeding edge of development and new algorithms.

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you need 7zip to access opentrack archives. in terms of usability it's no worse than facetracknoir and requires the same level of configuration. the benefit is that it has newer filters that allow for significantly enhanced tracking precision

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One thing that Opentrack does very well is the reverse views. When you are looking 180 at your six, if you lean left, your virtual head moves left, not right like FaceTrackNoIR. Figured it would get fixed with the latest FTNoIR beta but it still doesn't work correctly.



Win 10 64 Pro, MSI Z390 I7-9700K @5ghz Kraken Z63, 32Gb Corsair Dominator, MSI RTX-2070, 1TB NVME 2TB SSD's, TM Warthog, Pro Rudders, OpenTrack w/ IR Clip

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Txmtb, thanks for that detail. That is definitely a reason to use opentrack.

 

Naizarat, once opentrack is configured it has the same level of usability as FTN, I agree.

 

However, when I start FTN for the very first time, all user input fields are filled with reasonable defaults for the most common use case.

When I started opentrack for the first time, all the values have been set to zero and I needed to ask for help in this very thread.

 

I ended up copying most values over from FTN to opentrack. Especially the curves would have cost me quite some time to figure out all by myself. This initial work can be a showstopper for new users that just want to get into the cockpit as fast as possible. In my opinion this is definitely a usability issue that can be improved.

 

This is of course criticism on a very high level and supposed to be constructive. Opentrack is a great project and I am very glad that a bunch of people are investing work and time into this and also participate in discussions.

 

Cheers!

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