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Newbies: DIY TrackIR has gotten really easy and cheap. Here's how.


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#1 EmerlistDavjack

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Posted 27 August 2015 - 20:45

I know that this information is already out there, but I am collating it anew for the new players who need to know how cheap TIR can be.  It is amazingly worth it and enhances the feeling of flight tenfold.  Even if you already have an LED set up built, scroll down for the Camera/Filter setup I use, which is cheap and works in full daylight. 

 

6DOF head tracking is one of the true joys of a sim like ROF.  I recently scored a used 46'' 1080p TV for $80USD and I decided to upgrade my spotty TrackIR system to go along with it (side note: the 46'' TV is a massive improvement for spotting planes from far away).  I had been using an IR-converted Microsoft Lifecam but I never found a material to cover the lens with that worked in all conditions.  For a few more dollars, you can have a system that works perfectly in full daylight, blinds open, white walls.  Building this requires really no tools or expertise but scissors, liquid electrical tape, a hat and the TIR parts. Follow the instructions on Free-track.net and here and you will have working TrackIR in less than an hour (some of you in 15 minutes).   Below I've given some example ebay links for the parts. 

 

First, download FreeTrack from www.Free-track.net.  Note: Always load Freetrack before ROF or it wont recognize it.  Under the Output tab I choose "TrackIR Interface" and in Rise of Flight your camera should be default set to Pan View.  Otherwise I think that ROF just...uses Freetrack.  Somebody correct me if I am missing a step with moving a file but I don't think so.

 

Standard Hat Build:

 

1) Go here and learn about making the IR hat:  http://www.free-trac...?showtopic=1856

      -If you wont be soldering, I highly recommend "Wire Glue" or in the USA "Liquid Electrical Tape"  over tape; it's a better connection.  Be sure to twist exposed wired tightly around the LED lead a few times.

      -SFH485P 1.5v 880nm LEDs are easy and cheap. 

          From China: http://www.ebay.com/...FH485p&_sacat=0

      -22ohm resistors will give you brighter bulbs (best viewing angle, slightly less battery life): http://www.ebay.com/itm/250867360251

      -Battery Case (can be found cheaper): http://www.ebay.com/itm/130625020017

      -I scavenged PSU wire from an old computer case.  Light gauge speaker wire would also work. 

 

NOTE: It is completely acceptable to skimp on the resistors and go with 1 AA battery in a single holder and a parallel circuit for the LEDs.  Voltage drop is 1.5V across the board and while online electrical goons will tell you "you are damaging your LEDs" or something, they will not catch fire (lol) and they are 10 for $1.  So.  Make your own mind on that one.  My hat is 1 AA/resistorless: battery probably doesn't last as long and LEDs dim quicker.  This doesn't matter with the IR Pass filter/PS3eye much at all. LEDs still work, heh.

 

CAMERA and FILTER:

 

Here is the truly important part.  My thanks to =CFC=FatherTed for recommending the PS3Eye webcam months ago, of which I finally took advantage.

 

PS3Eye:  These things are cheap on ebay.  $3-10 shipped.  I'll let you do your own search.  The trick is that since these are made to use with an IR wand, their IR filters are REALLY weak. 

 

-Download and install CodeLaboratories PS3Eye Windows Drivers: https://codelaboratories.com/downloads

    

-Download and install patch for FreeTrack that allows it to use CLDrivers http://forum.free-tr...?showtopic=2416

   -Says its for Win7 but works with Win8.

Now, for ME, Freetrack crashes when I try to start the Eye unless I do two more things:

 

-Under CAM group, click Frame Rate tab and set FPS to 60 and multiplier to 1 (auto unmarked)

-Under CAM group, click Stream button and select 640x480 @ 60FPS

 

EVERY time I load Freetrack I have to click Stream and Ok the 640x480@60fps in order to start the Eye.  Adds 5 seconds to the activation process.  Your mileage may vary with trying to get 120FPS outta the Eye. 

 

FILTER:  Stop messing around with overexposed films and floppy disks and buy an IR Pass filter.  BUY AN IR PASS FILTER.  You'll need one at most 850nm to let the SFH485p's 860nm to pass.  See the attached picture below for my highly engineered camera/filter rig. 

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/381324614246

 

These things are so good, the sun looks like a pale red spot on black.  They block all visible light, and then the PS3Eye auto-exposure attempts to compensate, but since the IR LEDs pass the filter, those seem to be what it uses to auto expose.  And the result is constant dot perfection.

 

-In Freetrack, under CAM group, click Camera button and slide Gain all the way to 0.   I set exposure to 50%.  Back in the CAM Group I set Threshold to the lowest it can go without picking up daylight in a bright room (it is possible for the camera to see background IR radiation with enough gain).  Haven't touched it since, works in all conditions.  I used to have to black out my room when using films to cover the lens of a cam with the IR filter removed, and adjust threshold accordingly.  

 

So...that's all!  For under $30 shipped you too can have a brilliant TrackIR system that I wager works nearly as well as the $100 version.   Second attachment shows the Freetrack interface in a bright room with the lights on.  

Attached Files


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#2 Oliver88

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Posted 27 August 2015 - 22:54

I'm just about to create my own too once the parts arrive. Fathers rather decent in electronics so I've gained valuable advice. The electronics parts are costing me £10.


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#3 OubaasUSA

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 00:13

Great info.  I'm saving this to file even though I'm currently using TrackIR5 with the ProClip.

 

I already broke a ProClip and had to replace it.  They're flimsy and pricey.  If I break another one, I might go to this instead.

 

Head tracking is essential in this game.  It would be horrible to try to play without it.  As Jean Reno said in "Flyboys", that's why you've got the silk scarf, LOL!

 

:icon_e_salute:


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#4 SharpeXB

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 01:39

This was posted over on BoS
It's FaceTrackNoIR which is free and works with just a webcam. I've not ever tried it but this looks pretty amazing.


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#5 EmerlistDavjack

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 07:03

FaceTrackNoIR never worked for me with a 320x240 camera, I wonder if it would work with the PS3Eye.  Still, probably eats a little more system than tracking 3 points, for whom it matters. 


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#6 Plank

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 08:38

Dear chaps.

 

Freetrack.

Single point IR LED.

Ps4 eye, minus IR filter, added IR pass filter.

Cam on head band. (Yes on my head)

LED on monitor.

Ganged yaw and x together ( to peer round struts)

 

Works very well.  (I have a very fast profile for DF's)

 

Powered the LED of the PC PSU. 

 

Had issues with it getting a bit framey

but that disappeared after turning

some of the RoF graphics features UP,

not down.

 

It's definitely a contender. 

 

I would advise sensitive response

and not go for the "higher resolution"

as suggested on the website.

Also you will not lose the IR dot

off the edge sensor if you use more sensitivity

(the dot is still near the middle of the

sensor not right on the edge)

 

The down side to fast resopnse is

micro tremors and twitchyness.

But you learn to move smoothly after a while.

(a bit like flying a camel)

 

Salute freetrack!

 

Plank.


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-

Captured again!

 


#7 J2_Oelmann

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 09:04

Cheap and easy camera is a Wii-Mote. Which is basically an IR-camera with Bluetooth.
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#8 J2_Jakob

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 10:44

This was posted over on BoS
It's FaceTrackNoIR which is free and works with just a webcam. I've not ever tried it but this looks pretty amazing.

 

I tried FTNoIR some time ago. Although it's pretty amazing, that you need only webcam and no clip/cap, it's quite useless when it comes to what you can actually do with it. I remember that I couldn't turn my virtual head more than ~80°. This is no good, when you need to check your six in RoF. (In other sims, where you can not actually look behind, because the view is obstructed anyway, it might work...) Also, FTNoIR used quite a lot of computing power. On slower machine this meant my performance suffered heavily...

 

Went for FT and cap with IR diodes. It works very well, if you fiddle with sensitivity (rather high, as Plank says) and camera settings to fine tune it.

Cam, that I'm using, is Logitech C170 - quite cheap and removing the IR filter was no big deal...


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#9 Oliver88

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 11:33

I am using FaceTrackNoIR at the moment. And I echo what Jakob writes and also mention that in my experience it's very dependant upon lighting conditions both ambient and in game else strange results occur.

That said it's good for an starter to see whether you like the idea of head tracking before going straight into paying and building your own.

As well as the FaceTracker there's also an IR tracker so I am going to use FaceTrackNoIR with my IR headset once made.
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#10 =CfC=FatherTed

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 15:27

Great topic EmerlistDavJack - and nice, clear instructions.  One thing which might also be useful for new FreeTrack users would be an idea of the curves and other settings you use for the axes.


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#11 EmerlistDavjack

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 20:15

If I have time I can write up a description of how I set my curves.  It gets so much easier with a real IR pass filter when your LED points remain bright at full deflection. 

 

Plank, that's a really interesting setup!


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#12 FourSpeed

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 21:48

You can also look at the set-up I'm using (and posted about on New Wings) as well ---> here

 

 

Cheers,

4 :icon_e_salute:


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#13 EmerlistDavjack

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Posted 29 August 2015 - 00:23

CURVES AND SENSITIVITIES

 

Important command:  Under Controls Group, know what "Center View" is.  You will use it often, even in game, to reset the camera to consider your model centered.   In ROF the default key to set what ROF considers "center" is F10.  For EACH AIRCRAFT you will have to make sure that the RoF center (F10) is what you want to consider as Freetracks Center.  So whenever you hit Freetracks Center hotkey it will return you to the proper ROF center every time.  I have my ROF centers all set to fully zoomed out, pilot seated fully back, view centered on Iron Sights or Aldis.  I seat the pilot fully back so that I can lean back in my chair and then have any lean forward translate on the Z axis of Freetrack and shift my pilot forward in game. 

 

Summary of Axes:

 

Yaw:  Turning your head from side to side laterally.

Pitch: Pivoting head up and down.

Roll: Pivoting head radially.  This axis is not very necessary, indeed sometimes annoying, for aviation head tracking.

 

X: Moving head/body laterally

Y: Moving head/body up or down (useful for seeing over high back-rests, such as on the Hanriot or Felixstowe)

Z: Moving head/body forward/backward.  This can be used for in-game Zoom as well as minor body movements in cockpit.

 

Smoothing:  Never touched it myself, all values stock. 

 

The simplest way to begin is to copy the settings in my screenshots and then tweak them with the method I describe. Note: This is really ONLY for Freetrack.  You may learn general things about input/output angles, but I think Freetrack is a quality program and an easy way to do this, so that's what I'll discuss.  You will have to make adjustments to my settings your specific setup and of course input the dimensions of your model under the Model group.

 

There are three different areas for adjusting the IR tracking characteristics, named for the option groups in Freetrack: Curves, Profile Group Sensitivity, and Global Group Sensitivity.  Below you can see these three pages and my values for them.

 

Curves:  These are the foundation of the response.  Follow the basic shape I have in the pictures below for both the Rotation and Translation tabs. Basically you want very little response until you deflect your head far enough to one side that you are telling the computer "I want to see behind me."  You will get used to how that "exponential" response feels, trust me, and soon 90deg lateral is as easy as 180deg.  This way eliminates jittering because the response works more like a head gesture and less tracking the exact point.  These are the REAL sensitivity settings that determine how quickly your camera moves in response to your head. 

 

Sensitivity:  These appear to be a misnomer, as these values appear to have more to do with the absolute output than with the sensitivity of the response.  If you hold your head at a constant angle and then move the sensitivity sliders, it will change the angle of the Freetrack head model. To calibrate these, have the cam running and your IR hat on.  Turn your head as far as you'd want to in game and look at the model in Freetrack.  Is the head turned so that you would be able to see the tail of your aircraft? No?  Then increase the sensitivity of that axis, holding your head still, until the Freetrack model is looking where you want it.  

 

For example:  When I turn my head on the Yaw axis, I want to be looking just at the edge of my monitor and have my in-game view be not quite 180deg.  Why?  Because I am not an owl, and any real pilot could not turn his head 180deg.  The aircraft tail ends up in the far third of the screen, not in the center.  So I have my hat on, rotate my gaze to the edge of my monitor, and then adjust the Yaw sensitivity so that the Freetrack head is looking where I want it. My Global Yaw is set pretty high, you may want to start that at 1.3 like the others and adjust.

 

Profile Sensitivity:  Imagine the Sensitivities as a Coarse and Fine adjustment knobs.  The Profile tab is the coarse knob, meaning that it makes larger changes.  Note that each 0.1 has MULTIPLE STEPS.  Try it.  Click on a slider then press the right arrow key a few times and notice that every 0.1 interval has 3 actual positions.  Each one of these positions moves the output by many degrees and are significant! Use the arrow keys to set sensitivity because those in-between steps are so significant.

 

Global Sensitivity:  These are the Fine Adjust sensitivities, and cause less of a change than the Profile ones, so you can use them to fine-tune the edges of your responses.

 

That's it!  In Summary:  Set the Curves to be "exponential" and then use the Sensitivity sliders to adjust where exactly your view ends up.  

Attached Files


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#14 =CfC=FatherTed

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Posted 29 August 2015 - 01:29

Superb once more!  This thread now has pretty much all anyone needs to know about setting up FT


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#15 EmerlistDavjack

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Posted 29 August 2015 - 04:17

Thanks FatherTed! 

 

Last thing:  Have any Freetrack users upgraded to Win10?


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#16 Pioniere719

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Posted 26 May 2016 - 19:59

In case anyone is interested, I have added a "How To" thread to make a simple DIY adapter to attach the external IR filter to the PS3 Eye camera.

 

http://riseofflight....er-diy-adapter/

 

Cheers!

 

Pioniere719 :icon_e_salute:

 

p.s. IMHO, this helpful thread would have been much better suited in the "How To's, Instructions and SDKs" forum. Is there a possibility that it can be moved, so that it better serves the community?


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In exile.


#17 GrahamshereGT

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Posted 26 May 2016 - 20:25

Um 4Speed I clicked on your link and all I get is some advertisement about making money.


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#18 FourSpeed

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Posted 27 May 2016 - 02:37

Um 4Speed I clicked on your link and all I get is some advertisement about making money.

 

Fixed that link.  Keep in mind that link was to our old  .com  address for our forums -- our new address is at .org (http://newwingstraining.org)

 

 

Regards,

:icon_e_salute:


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#19 GrahamshereGT

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Posted 27 May 2016 - 06:51

Thanks Speed, gonna try your S curve in the yaw  after I fix my hat, ripped the wire right out in the heat of the battle last night, actually got caught in my chair some how , just as I was being attacked. Still manged to get him to crash then was attacked again but survived to fight another day.


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#20 GrahamshereGT

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Posted 27 May 2016 - 07:00

If you don't know factracknoir has a new version, a payed version that's about $5.00 Canadian that has many new add on's and seems more stable than the older ver's. its version 2.1. worth the 5 bucks I think.


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#21 J2_Mr_Tree

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Posted 28 May 2016 - 08:06

I use freetrack with windows 10 no issue's here
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#22 Stumble

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Posted 30 December 2016 - 10:12

Thanks for this, very useful.

When I remove the IR filter from my camera (logitech c300) do i need to replace it with a floppy disk film or IR pass filter?

Or can I leave it without anything?

 

Thanks


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Its actually an Honor to get stung by a bee.

It hates you so much, that its willing to die just

to cause you a mild amount of pain.


#23 =CfC=FatherTed

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Posted 30 December 2016 - 16:03

Thanks for this, very useful.

When I remove the IR filter from my camera (logitech c300) do i need to replace it with a floppy disk film or IR pass filter?

Or can I leave it without anything?

 

Thanks

You remove the filter so that the camera is more sensitive to the IR LEDs, you then cover the lens with the floppy disc film which cuts out visible light.  So now you have a camera which will only pick up IR sources.  You may still have to block other sources of IR radiation (like the sun) from your camera to make sure it only picks up the LEDs.


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#24 Bizu

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 14:45

Greetings,

 

Any info on how to differentiate the 2 PS3Eye cameras?

The one which can be modified and one which can't?

 

Thanks


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#25 GrahamshereGT

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 18:01

No, I do not think so. other than taking it apart and see, mine worked without pulling it apart.  But like the OP mentioned you can go to a camera store and get an ir filter.


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#26 Plank

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 20:19

Hello Bogdmaster,

 

Apparently you can, and also you can remove the IR blocking filter with some solvent.

 

Take off the lense barrel, bag the sensor board immediately in a clean plastic bag, and the try to clean off the filter.

Possibly try alcohol and/or acetone. Clean out the lense barrel 100% ( use a vacum cleaner!)

 

The difference I read about between easy and hard eye camera's, is the lense is slightly different on one.

but not sure how. Flatter? Something like that.

 

This info is out there somewhere. Maybe on the FT forum???

 

Good luck!

 

Salute!

 

Planky.


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Captured again!

 



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