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DIY Head Tracker tutorial


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#1 Stumble

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Posted 27 December 2018 - 09:12

Hi Chaps,

 

This is in response to Von-Devare's queries about homemade head tracking but I will try to write it in a way that is easy for anyone to understand. If you need any help, ask below and I will be happy to help!

 

Really it's quite simple. What you need is a camera which can see only IR (Infrared) light and a device which goes on your head which emits IR light. Onto your computer, you install software which uses the information from the camera to determine your head position/rotation. This then transfers into the game so when you move your head, the virtual head of the pilot will also move. Obviously, the movement is amplified as to allow constant vision of your computer screen at all times. This might seem a little complicated at first, but you should understand how it works soon.

 

 

Head device

First, you will need IR led lights. Specifically, ones which have a flat head to allow more visibility from your camera. The perfect LEDs are the SFH485P IR LEDs. They can be purchased extremely cheap with free shipping anywhere in the world on eBay.

 

For example, https://www.ebay.com...WWCq9:rk:1:pf:0 .

 

That's 10 LEDs for $3.02 NZD. That's a bargain if you ask me. (If you can't see the link tell me and I will update with an active link)

 

After you get the LEDs you will then need a power source. I powered my head tracker with two AA 1.2 V (volts) rechargeable batteries in a little battery holder which had a switch. In total that is 2.4 V. We need to add a resistor in series with the LED to limit the current. Heres the calculations: (V = I * R) :: 2.4 V supply - 1.5 Vf (foward diode voltage) = 0.9 V. I = 100 mA, R = 0.9 / 0.1 = 9 Ohm. The LEDs are rated to a max of 100 mA forward current so the minimum resitstance to safely run the LEDs is 9 Ohms. I chose to use 13 Ohm reistors as that gives me decent brightness and will give me more battery life. I'm not sure where you are from, but I'm in New Zealand and I got them at a local shop called Jay Car electronics. They are very easy and cheap to find. You can probably find them on eBay too.

 

There are several different LED arrangements we can have, but I highly suggest making a 3 LED cap. I personally don't like using headphones while gaming, and if you were to make a clip you need to always wear headphones while gaming but with a cap you don't need to be wearing headphones. Here you can see both a cap tracker and a clip tracker.

Attached File  Cap.jpg   67.79KB   2 downloads

Attached File  Clip.jpg   17.3KB   2 downloads

 

For a cap, you need to place three LEDs in a triangle formation with these dimensions: Attached File  Cap dimnensions.jpg   29.91KB   1 downloads 

 

Now with your LEDs, power source and resistors solder these all up and attach em to a cap with the correct dimensions. Here is mine, as you can see it's not amazing but it gets the job done. I attached the battery pack with a little velcro strip which is plenty strong enough to hold it in. I will post a schematic to show you exactly how to attach it later.

Attached File  IMG_20181227_220648-2320x1740.jpg   218.75KB   2 downloads

Attached File  IMG_20181227_220656-2320x1740.jpg   198.23KB   1 downloads

Attached File  IMG_20181227_220700-2320x1740.jpg   287.95KB   1 downloads

 

If you don't know how to solder just look up some tutorials on YouTube. I urge you to use it with precaution and make sure you turn off the soldering iron and unplug it from the wall when you are done. I almost burnt down our house from forgetting that. You can buy cheap but reasonably good soldering irons from eBay too. https://www.ebay.com...38Tlg:rk:1:pf:0

 

If you want to power your head tracker via USB cable into the computer I'll have to have a look at it to see which resistors and what not you need. Maybe someone with experience can pitch in there.

 

And there you have your head tracker. Your only half way there but you'll defiantly be spurred on by that amazing sense of achievement. Next, the camera...

 

 

Web Camera

To see the IR LEDs attached to your head tracker you need a camera which can see only IR light and no visible light. Most web cams have a IR blocking filter which needs to be removed for our purpose. You then replace this with some sort of filter which blocks all visible light. Both film negative and the insid of a floppy disk can be used for this. I have also heard that you can get IR band pass filters specifically for this but dont quote me on that. You need to know now that this camera will be ruined and can only be used for the head tracker. But its worth it!

 

The best camera for this is the very cheap PS3 EYE cam. This cam runs at 60 FPS at 720p resolution which is ideal for this purpose. Unfortunatly this can be a little tricky to modify but I got there, so you can too! I think this is the right one but I need it to be checked first, but it looks something like this: https://www.ebay.com...YQSL1:rk:1:pf:0

 

Its been a while since I did it but i think theres a couple screws in the base which need to be un done then you need to snap the little plastic tabs which hold in the main body. Then you need to disasemble the lens casing and there you have the IR blocking filter. Useing an exacto knife you need to carefully cut it out and avoid getting any dust on the sensor. Using a brush and magnafying glass helps to remove all the dust. You then need to find a place to put the visible light filter and put it all bach together.

 

If you need to help with modifying it, let me know.

 

I also heard that there are two different models, one which can be modified and one which cannot. I have a vauge memory of Grahamshere knowing about this, but that could be a false memory.

 

 

Software

There are multiple apps which you can use, but they all just use the Free track software.

 

I have been and am using FaceTrackNoIR with the IR point tracker plugin. This uses the free track software but I prefer the UI (user interface) over Free Track itself and it seems to work with many more games. Setting it up takes a little work and I will post how to do all that at a latter date.

 

 

I can understand if you didn't understand much of this. Feel free to ask me questions. I'm happy to help!!!

 

 

Salute!

Stumble.


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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.


#2 J2_Bidu

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Posted 27 December 2018 - 09:20

What a nice article, Stumble. Just a question: I also use FaceTrackNoIR and there was a small glitch where in ROF you couldn't look all the way up 90 deg. I managed to fix that with game config changes but in BOX there's no such thing. Did you fix that somehow?
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#3 Stumble

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Posted 27 December 2018 - 10:26

What a nice article, Stumble. Just a question: I also use FaceTrackNoIR and there was a small glitch where in ROF you couldn't look all the way up 90 deg. I managed to fix that with game config changes but in BOX there's no such thing. Did you fix that somehow?


I have the exact same problem and was gonna make a post about that a couple weeks ago but I forgot...

I'll ask at the IL2 forums and get back to you.
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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.


#4 Stumble

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Posted 27 December 2018 - 10:30

Here's the link to that discussion: https://riseofflight...em/#entry693186

What version of BoX are u having trouble with? Just cause I have BoS and have the problem and I'm wondering if FC has the same problem.

Because of this problem I had a go at using open track with help from Grahamshere but it really didn't work out for me. It wasn't as smooth/nice as FaceTrackNoIR.
  • 0

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.


#5 J2_Bidu

J2_Bidu
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Posted 27 December 2018 - 20:45

Well, all the games are essentially the same, it's only maps and planes that differ. It affects everything. I too tried OpenTrack but it felt a bit weird, so I'm still using FaceTrackNoIR. I'm sure pilots have trouble loooking straight up too... ;)
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#6 Von-Dervare

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Posted 29 December 2018 - 21:28

Thank you for the time it took to explain things to me. We are 1/2 the world apart, as I live in the White Mountains of New Hampshire USA .
I solder by several means but this looks like a common soldering gun job to me . I gas weld, arc weld, and mig weld, and probably could tig if I had access to the tig machine. I silver solder with torches . So long as 'I" is current we are game on. :) I have installed leds on cars trucks and bikes ( motor bikes) and some arrays come with a resistor bridge, and some don't and you have to add them in line .


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