'Active' dot

Herr Kessler
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Oct 14, 2002 5:00 am
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

'Active' dot

Post by Herr Kessler » Mon Oct 14, 2002 2:30 pm

Are there any plans for Natural Point to offer an 'active' (IR LED) dot for use with the TrackIR? I would be very interested in this.

I have problems with TrackIR losing sight of the dot on my hat if I rotate my head too far or if the reflection off my glasses gets too bright. An active dot would aleviate a lot of this I would think, but I am too technically unskilled to make one myself.

Thanks,
Kessler

- Glad to see the new forums too! Thanks!

Halstead York
Posts: 229
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2002 5:00 am
Location: Portland, Oregon

Re: 'Active' dot

Post by Halstead York » Mon Oct 14, 2002 3:35 pm

quote:Originally posted by Herr Kessler:
Are there any plans for Natural Point to offer an 'active' (IR LED) dot for use with the TrackIR? I would be very interested in this.
Well, plan might be stretching, but it is something that we have interst in. What form factor would you guys like to see in an active (LED) dot?

snake122
Posts: 410
Joined: Mon Oct 14, 2002 5:00 am
Location: Spencerville, Indiana, U.S.A.

Re: 'Active' dot

Post by snake122 » Mon Oct 14, 2002 5:37 pm

Hmm, very interesting idea! I like it but if you turn your head away isn't the IR light still pointing the other way? I know there is a company out there that makes IR LEDs in flash lights for use with night vision. You may want to look in military surplus catalogs if you want to build your own. It should be pretty cheap. Then again, Naturalpoint has the wand on it's website. The only minor problem I see with the wand is that you would have to find a way to keep it on for headtracking since its a pressure switch. Would Track IR GX track a IR led right now in its latest version, Halstead? I would love to see a headphones with boom mic setup.

BTW, just how long do the dots work? I'm still on my origina dot, but I don't use my Track IR much yet due to the keymapping problems on my system. What causes them to stop working? Do the rings ever die and do they work in GX?

Georgio
Posts: 41
Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2002 5:00 am
Location: Essex, UK

Re: 'Active' dot

Post by Georgio » Mon Oct 14, 2002 5:43 pm

Snake,
After much trial and error, the dots on the end of the head mike boom is the best place to put them.
The relative movement being stuck out in front of your face is ideal.
A uni-directional active dot or eye tracking would still be the best option though

snake122
Posts: 410
Joined: Mon Oct 14, 2002 5:00 am
Location: Spencerville, Indiana, U.S.A.

Re: 'Active' dot

Post by snake122 » Mon Oct 14, 2002 6:05 pm

quote:Originally posted by Georgio:
Snake,
After much trial and error, the dots on the end of the head mike boom is the best place to put them.
The relative movement being stuck out in front of your face is ideal.
A uni-directional active dot or eye tracking would still be the best option thoughHehe, but how long do they last? I didn't like my mike boom, I went for a band of construction paper taped on my headphones that goes across my forehead. My mic boom would block tracking if I turned my head into it. Tilting my head up will still block the dot so I don't have the range there I want. But I think that's mostly because I'm limited in my home cockpit where I can mount my TrackIR with the fresnel lens in front of the monitor.

I do like your active omni-directional dot idea with no power source like you posted in another thread. The tritium dot would be really expensive though and I'm not sure how much IR it puts out. The cheapest way may just be a IR LED, but I'm not sure how omni-directional it would be.
Eye-track might have the poblems that everybody wrongly first expects when they hear of TrackIR. Then you will have to move your eyes and it might take them off monitor with eye-tracking unless they create really good software that will probably use tons of CPU cycles. And I don't trust tracking your whole head after my disappointment with "Use Your Head" webcam tracking software. The dots have so far really impressed me, but there is room for improvement, hence this thread

bhodi
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Oct 14, 2002 5:00 am
Location: Kenosha WI

Re: 'Active' dot

Post by bhodi » Tue Oct 15, 2002 12:59 am

OK,
Here a link to a whole thread on SimHq where we started this idea...

http://www.simhq.com/simhq3/sims/boards ... 00422.html

Here's what Jim told us what the parts we need to make it are.

Some quick info to aid the RadioShack search. Ask for part # 276-143. This is a very nice IR LED with a peak output at 880nm, right were the trackIR wants you to be. If you get this IR LED then I would probably frost it a bit because it has a focused output, you can do this by lightly sanding (400 grit) the LED surface or blunt the end (lens part) of the LED to make it radiate better. You will need 3V of forward voltage to make it light up so just use 2 AAA batteries or a watch cell or similar. Run a min of 50 ohms inline resistance. If you are at the Shack then buy a pack of 50 ohm resistors and a 500ohm(or similar) trim pot. Put them in series so you can play with the brightness of the LED and not burn it out. There are better SMT leds with 160 degree output from Digikey.

Here's a pic of my headset



The whole active IR Dot setup cost about 10 or 15 bucks.
The battery box has a switch and a Yellow LED to let me know if it is on or off.
Since it is on a USB mic I've been tempted to make it into a +5v source from USB however I think the battery has lasted several hundred hours and for a $1.50 a battery it's easier to replace them then do all that USB conversion work.
Hope this helps

Nodak01
Posts: 142
Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2002 5:00 am

Re: 'Active' dot

Post by Nodak01 » Tue Oct 15, 2002 2:20 am

Mine is set up very simular, except I use a headset for sound also. The bulb sticks out just a bit from its housing, an ink pen tube, so the round surface doesn't get lost. The only time it ever loses track is when I move the whole thing out of the track box zone feild.

So simple to build, and I'm horrible at soldering. If you have a low volt power adaptor, something like 3 to 5 VDC your already half way there.

HarryM
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Oct 14, 2002 5:00 am
Location: Paso Robles, CA

Re: 'Active' dot

Post by HarryM » Tue Oct 15, 2002 3:45 am

I've got to make me one of these...

snake122
Posts: 410
Joined: Mon Oct 14, 2002 5:00 am
Location: Spencerville, Indiana, U.S.A.

Re: 'Active' dot

Post by snake122 » Tue Oct 15, 2002 4:41 am

Very cool, but I've never built anything electronic before. Not sure if I have the skills to build one, I've never even soldered.

bhodi
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Oct 14, 2002 5:00 am
Location: Kenosha WI

Re: 'Active' dot

Post by bhodi » Tue Oct 15, 2002 8:31 am

HI,
Snake122, the first prototype one I built I didn't solder it, I just wrapped the wires up tight together and the used some shrink tubing to hold it tight. It is still working and my buddy uses it every day.
We will walk you through it, if you want to try making it.
The power is only a watch cell, and the only part that you can burn out is the LED's and they are almost bulletproof at that low of voltage. Plus they only cost about $1.80 if you burn up the IR one. Radio shack link
The Yellow one cost me $.50
switch was $2.00
Trim pot was $1.50
resistors was $1.00
Battery boxes to built it in $3.00
Watch Battery holder $1.50
Watch Battery $2.00
Bic pen tube, wire, shrink tube wrap..couple of bucks.
a drill and small bit for the wire and switch holes. A needle nosed pliers with wire cutter built in for the wire work and your ready to go.
It's easier to make then getting your first kill online in IL-2 :]

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