Projector user - need to extend range of TrackIR 5

GunSlingerAUS
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2010 1:17 am

Projector user - need to extend range of TrackIR 5

Post by GunSlingerAUS » Wed Oct 06, 2010 2:30 am

Hey guys

I game in my home theatre, which has a large front projection unit. I'm seated in a cockpit placed in front of the screen, and play the DCS and iRacing games almost daily. I've only had this system for a month, and there's one last problem with it - where to mount my TrackIR? Here's a photo of my setup with my old cockpit and TrackIR4. Since then, I've put in a new full seat cockpit, and replaced the TrackIR with a TrackIR 5.

[img:center]http://gon.cdn.on.net/screenshots/a/0/4 ... impit2.jpg[/img]

You can just see the TrackIR popping up behind the wheel; currently I use a camera tripod as the TrackIR mount placed at the front of the cockpit, but this is not the best option for two reasons:

1.) It's a pain having to set this up every time I move my cockpit for a bit of movie viewing.
2.) The biggest problem - the track IR unit sits in front of the screen, obscuring my view. This has become more of an issue now that I'm playing DCS Warthog, as I need to see and be able to click all of my instruments.

To get around this, I tried placing the TrackIR 5 on the top edge of the projection screen, angled down. Unfortunately, it appears my head is about 2 to 3 feet too far from the unit for it to see my TrackIR hat (I use a baseball cap with the TrackIR clip thingy, that has three reflectors). The distance from the top of the projector screen to my head while seated in the cockpit is about 8 feet.

I can't move my cockpit forwards, so I was wondering if there was any way I could extend the range of the TrackIR unit, perhaps by building an active LED system to replace the passive hat system that I'm currently using? I see that there is a TrackClip PRO available - however, I do not wear headphones while gaming, as I have an excellent home theatre 5.1 sound system that is much better at the job.

So, any ideas? Will active LEDs instead of the passive reflectors increase the range? If so, where can I find a guide on building one of these?

Or will a TrackClip PRO do the job? And if so, how can I use it without having to wear headphones?

Hope you guys can help - I love my TrackIR and am sure I'm not the first guy using a front projection system to run into this problem. Thanks in advance for any advice.

GunSlingerAUS
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2010 1:17 am

Re: Projector user - need to extend range of TrackIR 5

Post by GunSlingerAUS » Wed Oct 06, 2010 2:34 am

By the way, my new cockpit has a bucket seat that extends higher than my head - so I can't mount the TrackIR unit behind me =(

VincentG
Posts: 7728
Joined: Mon Jul 17, 2006 5:00 am
Location: Corvallis, Oregon

Re: Projector user - need to extend range of TrackIR 5

Post by VincentG » Wed Oct 06, 2010 2:34 pm

How large of a distance is between the camera, and your seat?

Have you looked at mounting the camer within the cockpit itself?

GunSlingerAUS
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2010 1:17 am

Re: Projector user - need to extend range of TrackIR 5

Post by GunSlingerAUS » Wed Oct 06, 2010 3:18 pm

It's approximately 8 feet (I've lost my tape measure so can't be precise). If I stand up and move forwards about 2 feet, the camera detects the hat.

I can't mount the camera in the cockpit the dashboard is quite low. So as soon as I try to look up (to check my six while flying) the camera loses sight of the hat clip. The Steering Wheel also gets in the way, making performance iffy at best.

Do you know if my suggested fixes might work? Will active LEDs instead of the passive reflectors increase the range? Or will a TrackClip PRO do the job

VincentG
Posts: 7728
Joined: Mon Jul 17, 2006 5:00 am
Location: Corvallis, Oregon

Re: Projector user - need to extend range of TrackIR 5

Post by VincentG » Wed Oct 06, 2010 5:02 pm

You could try lowering the light filtering option, within the software.

Advanced Settings -> Camera tab -> light filter threshold

Seth Steiling
Posts: 1366
Joined: Fri Jun 27, 2008 11:29 am
Location: Corvallis, Oregon

Re: Projector user - need to extend range of TrackIR 5

Post by Seth Steiling » Wed Oct 06, 2010 5:24 pm

Hi GunSlinger,

If you haven't already done so, I would also recommend increasing the IR brightness from 10 to 15 in the Camera tab of the Advanced Settings section. This would be a good first step for increasing your range, as it should have the most appreciable impact.

Active LEDs, like in the TrackClip PRO, can give you a boost. I would not recommend trying to create your own clip, because the arrangement of LEDs would need to be pretty exact in order for the TrackIR software to be able to calculate with accuracy. But, yes, it is a possibility. If you do this, you should use 850nm IR LEDS, as that is what the camera expects to see. If you wanted to really go for it, you could potentially use your TrackClip as a foundation for a custom clip, by drilling some holes in the center of the passive markers and mounting LEDs directly onto it. This would ruin your TrackClip for normal use, so again, not recommended. But potentially possible. :)
Marketing Manager
TrackIR | OptiTrack

GunSlingerAUS
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2010 1:17 am

Re: Projector user - need to extend range of TrackIR 5

Post by GunSlingerAUS » Wed Oct 06, 2010 5:31 pm

Hi guys

Thanks for the advice - I've already boosted the IR brightness to max, lowered the light threshold and changed it from precision to standard mode. As a result it's kind of working ok, but nowhere near as good as up close.

Seth, your suggestion sounds perfect - but I've also had another idea. What about increasing the size of the reflectors on the hat clip? May that help? If so, what material should I use?

Failing that, I think I'll try to do the custom IR LED setup - can anybody help me out with instructions on how to build a battery powered setup?

Seth Steiling
Posts: 1366
Joined: Fri Jun 27, 2008 11:29 am
Location: Corvallis, Oregon

Re: Projector user - need to extend range of TrackIR 5

Post by Seth Steiling » Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:33 am

I don't know if increasing the reflector size will help you or not. I'm a little doubtful that it's going to give much of a boost at that distance. If you want to experiment, look around for some retro-reflective material, like what we have at the bottom of our accessories page:

http://www.naturalpoint.com/trackir/02- ... ories.html

It needs to be retro-reflective, not just reflective. I believe ours is manufactured by 3M.

Oh, also, you should have it in Precision Mode, not Standard Mode. Precision gives the camera a larger picture of the markers to work with, which is especially important at further distances.

One of the main issues you run into at large distances like this is not just the markers disappearing... they also get really close together in the camera's view. This makes it more difficult to distinguish them, especially when you turn your head. Keep this in mind as you move forward.
Marketing Manager
TrackIR | OptiTrack

GunSlingerAUS
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2010 1:17 am

Re: Projector user - need to extend range of TrackIR 5

Post by GunSlingerAUS » Thu Oct 07, 2010 3:40 pm

Hi Seth

Do you think it'd be worth trying the TrackClip PRO? Will that extend the range? I'm right on the working range of the device, so really only need to extend the range by just a couple of feet.

If you think it'll help, I just need to figure out how to attach the PRO clip to a baseball cap...

Seth Steiling
Posts: 1366
Joined: Fri Jun 27, 2008 11:29 am
Location: Corvallis, Oregon

Re: Projector user - need to extend range of TrackIR 5

Post by Seth Steiling » Thu Oct 07, 2010 4:47 pm

Honestly, it's hard to say. You're already working outside of the official range of the camera, so I can't guarantee anything with full confidence. I would guess, though, that another foot might be possible with a TrackClip PRO.
Marketing Manager
TrackIR | OptiTrack

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