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Discussion and Support for the OptiTrack, SmartNav and TrackIR brands by NaturalPoint

Does "Active" Mode Pose Danger To Eyes?

by BPO6_GoldenWing » Tue Sep 02, 2003 6:02 am

I read in another forum that extended use of TrackIR in "active" mode could result in damage to your eyes.

The poster recommended two methods to avoid permanent damage to your eyes: 1) Select "passive" and use an IR source attached to your head. 2) Purchase the eDimensional glasses which protect against IR.

This seems far fetched to me, but I would like to hear from the experts here. (I remember the children in my neighborhood playing "gun tag" with those IR gun sets. I don't think this would be allowed if there was danger of eye damage.)

~S! Gold
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by Reinhard » Tue Sep 02, 2003 6:10 am

Nice question. I asked myself anyway why nobody in this forum ever brought up the topic of health damage.

Would also appreciate any comment to this by the experts (not only by naturalpoint [Wink] .

Greets Reinhard
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by Charlie251 » Wed Sep 03, 2003 8:31 am

The TrackIR is not a "laser" device or they would be required by federal law to stamp it with the laser classification, which it is not. Even if it were, it would more than likely be a class I laser device, meaning that it couldn't harm a thing regardless of how long your exposed to it.

The TIR has four LED's or Light Emmitting Diodes. Not lasers. They are pretty much harmless. Most alarm clocks and things of that nature run on LEDs. So it would be just as dangerous, if not more so, looking into your alarm clock than your TrackIR. [Smile]
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by 13thDisciple » Wed Sep 03, 2003 1:40 pm

Charlie - The LED's in the Track IR reciever are Infrared - not like the LED's in your alarm clock - Infrared is a bright light that the human eye cannot see - if you point a digital camera at the reciever you will see just how bright these lights are. The reason they it may be dangerous is that your eye does not see the brightness therefor they do not adjust for it.

As for ACTIVE dots - I built several variation and use it instead of the reflectors - It does an outstanding job at tracking the Active Dot.

I spent around 25 bucks to build mine - But I have more than just a dot - I wear headphones when I play IL2 - so I have the IR LED DOT extend slightly off of my MIC arm - more or less in front of my nose - and I also have 2 adjustable red LED (3000 nm) one on each side of my headphones above the ears - all this is connected to the desktop power unit/remote via a cable that I have twisted together with my headphone cable. It's a small unit - 2" x 1"

With if off the headphones I don;t have the extra weight of the batteries and it's easier to adjust and control - plus I use an ac adapter therefor I don't have to worry about batteries at all.

The red led's are great for midnight gaming when you don;t want to wake anyone up or disturb your game with a bright light - the red causes less glare - and most importantly it look cool.

[ September 03, 2003, 08:41 PM: Message edited by: 13thDisciple ]
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by Reinhard » Wed Sep 03, 2003 7:55 pm

quote:
Originally posted by 13thDisciple:
Charlie - The LED's in the Track IR reciever are Infrared - not like the LED's in your alarm clock - Infrared is a bright light that the human eye cannot see - if you point a digital camera at the reciever you will see just how bright these lights are. The reason they it may be dangerous is that your eye does not see the brightness therefor they do not adjust for it.

So TRACK-IR might be a danger???

(And what is more: I don't look for 3 hours directly onto my alarm clock at a short distance, so all the comparisons here are a laugh)...

No comment from naturalpoint here? Furthermore: would be interesting to know, why track-IR cannot be bought here in Germany. Perhaps importing it is not allowed?

Don't get me wrong! I love that device! But I love the good function of my eyes even more...

Reinhard

[ September 04, 2003, 02:57 AM: Message edited by: Reinhard ]
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by BPO6_GoldenWing » Thu Sep 04, 2003 3:33 am

Charlie,
I never said TrackIR was a laser (where did that come from??) It is definitely IR, but the question is whether or not prolonged exposure to IR beams directly into your eyes is harmful. (2 to 3 hours worth at a time)

Can anyone help me with this? If this is a dumb question, I apologize.

How do you switch between "active" and "passive" modes?

Gold

[ September 04, 2003, 10:41 AM: Message edited by: BoP_GoldenWing ]
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by BPO6_GoldenWing » Thu Sep 04, 2003 3:37 am

SOLUTION???

If NaturalPoint offered an "active" "dot" so that the camera was "passive," I'd be first in line to buy one.

Maybe a clip to add to top of microphone headset.

I've thought about building one myself, but I'm not familiar enough with all the IR tech requirements, what, where to buy supplies, etc.

Gold
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by 13thDisciple » Thu Sep 04, 2003 9:30 am

GoldWing - It's easy to make - i'll look for the thread about it someone in here - If you can solder you can build it.

As for the clip on IR LED - that pretty much what I am using - if you make one yourself - you can make it however you want.

Fo the basic Active DOT - you'll spend 12.60 plus tax, getting all parts from radio shack
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by AWood » Thu Sep 04, 2003 12:29 pm

I think it is highly unlikely that an IR light source such as the TrackIR is going to harm your eyes even with several hours of use a day. If you go outside on a sunny day you're getting exposed to a heck of a lot more IR than the TrackIR produces. You're not looking directly at the sun of course, but light (IR included) does reflect off of everything you see. Looking a CRT monitor is probably more dangerous than the TrackIR. :-)
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by Charlie251 » Thu Sep 04, 2003 3:42 pm

OK.

13: It was a bad example. I was trying not to get to technical and I gave a bad example. Have you opened a sun lit window in front of the receiver? It blanks out. Look directly into the sun and it hurts. But the sun is quite an infinite step of power compared to the very low voltage and duty cycle of the LED's in the TrackIR. You caught me in a bad example though. [Razz]

Gold: LEDs are, for all intensive purposes, a laser. Just a very, very, very, very, very weak laser. To get into the physics of it, you could say that it works due to optical radiation by stimulating electronic, ionic, or molecular transitions to higher energy levels so that when they return to lower energy levels they emit energy. Energy is a fancy word for light. Infrared is just another frequency of light.

The radiant optical power of LED's, at least the type in the TrackIR, is very low. They are not even close to being classified as a Class I IAW government legislation. The only LED's that are starting to come under fire are the large, high powered, high duty cycle ones like they are starting to use in traffic lights and may one day be your head lights. But, even those have been tested to be safe. That doesnt stop interests groups though......

What we really need is for Natural Point to tell us what frequency of IR the LEDs operate on and what their radiant optical power is. But, that might be priviledged information.

From a study I found on the internet... The exposure limits show that filtered IR is around 100 times less hazardous than visible blue light. Is the TIR filtered IR? Another question for the NP folks.

But be assured that the government does have laws in place that would force NP to mark the product accordingly if the LED output was anything higher than a class II designated emitter.

As for switching from passive to active, there is a radio button on one of the pages, motion I think, for it. But, you cannot use TIR in passive mode unless you have an active dot.
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