TrackIR vs VR

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streakeagle
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2004 5:00 am
Location: Seffner, FL USA

TrackIR vs VR

Post by streakeagle » Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:58 pm

I am a long time user of TrackIR. I originally had TrackIR3, upgraded it to use Vector, got TrackIR4 Pro, and finally TrackIR5 Pro. My principal use has been for flight sims (Aces High, Strike Fighters series, DCS World, FSX, etc.) but I have also used it for the ArmA series, Train Simulator, and any other games I have that happen to support it. I now have Oculus Rift. I got it for $400 with the touch controllers last summer and during Christmas, the same setup went as low as $350. Ignoring the head mounted display and the two controllers, Oculus was still a much better value. There is no comparison in the head tracking precision and smoothness. I can look any direction without losing track or having to re-center.

For the time being, the resolution of VR head mounted displays are too low to properly support combat flight sims. But it is utterly painful to go back to TrackIR after experiencing the tracking quality of the Oculus. If I could use the Oculus head tracking without the display instead of TrackIR, I would. But that isn't possible, so TrackIR still has a place for me in combat flight sims. But if TrackIR doesn't do something to remain competitive such as the price coming way down or the quality of the tracking needs coming way up, it is going to go the way of the horse and carriage, because VR is like a high end sports car in comparison, but it doesn't cost that much more than TrackIR.

Chris.Johnson
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Aug 15, 2017 1:56 pm

Re: TrackIR vs VR

Post by Chris.Johnson » Fri Mar 30, 2018 11:40 am

Hello streakeagle,

I would be happy to go over your track IR settings with you to help with the smoothness of the tracking. Just email us directly at support@naturalpoint.com.
All the Best,
Chris Johnson
Customer Support Engineer
NaturalPoint

streakeagle
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2004 5:00 am
Location: Seffner, FL USA

Re: TrackIR vs VR

Post by streakeagle » Sat Apr 07, 2018 7:07 pm

There isn't a TrackIR profile that can fix the problems that I have with TrackIR. The tracking limits and drift are dreadful in comparison to what VR headsets have demonstrated. And no amount of profile settings or software trickery can overcome the fact that TrackIR has to use some high gain between angular movement of the head and the angular movement onscreen so that you can look behind you while still being able to see the entire screen comfortably. The 1:1 tracking of VR headsets allows for a natural stability and smoothness that TrackIR can never achieve.

To even begin to compete:

1) TrackIR needs more than one sensor to increase precision and maintain track at extreme angles, two seems adequate with Oculus, where I actually turn my head 180 degrees to look behind me. The angle I am willing to turn away in from the screen for TrackIR is somewhere between 30 and 60 degrees with my 46 inch LCD that is more than 2 feet but less than 3 feet away from my normal head position. There is no excuse for losing track when I look left or right, up or down within such practical angle limits compared to VR headsets.

2) The transmitters on the head need to be readily visible to the sensors even when turning or pitching the head/line of sight to the limits of the monitor edges. I use a large monitor and plan on getting an even larger (60-inch or more) display, so I try to use lower gain profiles to allow better resolution in tracking while still allowing looking +/-180 degrees horizontal and +/- 90 degrees vertical. But the sensor still loses the pro led transmitters, particularly when looking down or to the left.

3) The software needs to take into account the center of the display/line of sight versus the position of the TrackIR sensor. My large monitor requires placing the sensor either above or below my line of sight by a fairly large offset. This causes the onscreen reaction to my head movement to be a little off from what I am actually doing because the horizontal plane of my head motion is too far from being parallel with the horizontal plane of the sensor. It doesn't know that it is looking down. The software assumes it is fairly level with the TrackIR clip. This problem will be worse if I get a larger monitor.

mc_sushi
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:21 pm

Re: TrackIR vs VR

Post by mc_sushi » Mon Apr 09, 2018 9:41 am

Oculus HMD tracking doesn't solely rely on the optical tracking but it also has an inertial sensor, IMU, that is embedded within the HMD. I believe this is the main reason why the tracking is much more stable at extreme angles. They can obtain a lot of the rotational data from this IMU sensor, and combine it with the positional tracking data from the camera sensor stabilizing the tracking overall. I don't think TrackIR head clips implement any IMU sensor yet, but it would be great if they do. I can see a lot of benefits from that. But at that point, I assume it would be a completely new design of the clip and the software.

streakeagle
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2004 5:00 am
Location: Seffner, FL USA

Re: TrackIR vs VR

Post by streakeagle » Mon May 28, 2018 9:35 pm

If I could use my Oculus Rift headset without the display to drive the view of the normal screen the way TrackIR does, I would. In terms of cost-effectiveness, the Oculus includes a full display and headphones integrated into the tracking system that includes two sensors for $400. This makes the $170 for a TrackIR with the clip look very expensive with only one sensor, no display, and no sound, just a clip-on LED array. Until the resolution of VR increases significantly and the graphics cards get fast enough to drive such resolution, there is still a place in the market for TrackIR. But once you have had a taste of the smoothness, precision/accuracy of VR, TrackIR feels very clumsy... like trying to use a game controller to play an FPS rather than a mouse/keyboard.

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