DIY Head Tracking device for £10!

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DIY Head Tracking device for £10!

Postby Nobkins » Wed Apr 30, 2014 10:10 am

Hi Everyone,

I have been folowing a thread on the Elite Dangerous forums. Some clever people over their are developing a head tracking device (like track IR but using similar tracking technology to the Occlus Rift).

This device looks great and I love the DIY attitude. I think it should work with other games. It appears to windows as a joystick device. Does anyone know if you can bind head movement in ETS 2 and OMSI 2 to a joystick axis. If you can then this would be great and probably convince me to having a go at making one. I don't own OMSI 2 (only OMSI 1) so if anyone has OMSI 2 can check if head movement can be controlled by joystick axis that would be great.

Here is the thread talking about the device:
http://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=15316

Here is a YouTube Video showing it off. It is good in the video but from reading the thread I believe it has improved since the video was made:
Part 1
http://www.youtube.com/v/_oqLwCtMCKc
Part 2
http://www.youtube.com/v/m4hyMbHpl18

If I make one I'll let you know how I go. I don't suppose head movement in TrainSimulator can be linked to a joystick can it? Awesome if it could.

Jim
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Re: DIY Head Tracking device for £10!

Postby VictoryWorks » Wed Apr 30, 2014 1:50 pm

Interesting, going to have a watch of that.

Freetrack has been around for quite a while and is a very cheap version of the exorbitantly priced Track-IR http://www.free-track.net/english/
I've often wondered if it works with the TS hack for Track-IR but have never found the time to dig out my soldering iron and build a headset.
Mapping view rotation to a joystick in TS would be a great compromise as DTG have shown little interest in adding native head tracking support. I can't imagine it would require a huge amount of code to implement.

I can't help thinking that the Kinect that's sat atop my TV and used very little could be used for this kind of thing as well.
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Re: DIY Head Tracking device for £10!

Postby Nobkins » Wed Apr 30, 2014 2:21 pm

I have had a play with FaceTrackNoIR before. I had it working in ETS2 but it was not reliable mainly because I wear glasses which means the FaceTrackNoIR software struggles to detect my face!

I am pretty blind without glasses so this was a big stumbling block.

It also makes me wonder if the Occlus Rift will be possible for me to use. I think it comes with lenses but with my poor eyesight I wonder if it will be possible to allow me to focus properly.

For £10 I think this is a no brainer.

The DIY Team that put this together have already made a couple of hundred daughter boards (circuit boards that already have all the wholes etc exactly where you need them) which allows for a much more compact design.

Just waiting for those to be available and then I shall be making a stab at this I think.

Jim
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Re: DIY Head Tracking device for £10!

Postby JasonM » Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:33 pm

That sounds very interesting Jim(hi by the way 1st post here).
Please let us know when those boards become available, I also would be interesting in having a go.
I am just about to check if it could be used in Omsi 2.

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Re: DIY Head Tracking device for £10!

Postby Nobkins » Wed Apr 30, 2014 8:17 pm

Let me know what you find in OMSI. As far as I know it just needs to support allowing a joystick to control the head axis. It might also need to support 2 joysticks if you drive with a wheel as the head tracker will appear as a second joystick.

I believe it is possible to combine the inputs from two joysticks so that they appear as one (feeling I read you can do it using VJoy or something). I could be imagining that last but though!
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Re: DIY Head Tracking device for £10!

Postby JasonM » Wed Apr 30, 2014 9:29 pm

Right I connect a joystick as well as steering wheel to OMSI2, they both can be used together except the joystick will only allow me to use the buttons, the axis only show up in the options to control steering/power/brakes etc.
At the moment cant find a way to control head view with the joystick.
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Re: DIY Head Tracking device for £10!

Postby Nobkins » Wed Apr 30, 2014 9:52 pm

Now that is a shame. Do you have any contacts with OMSI people. Might be worth putting a request in.

I have read reports on the Elite Dangerous forum that it works fine with ETS 2. Using this in OMSI would be awesome.

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Re: DIY Head Tracking device for £10!

Postby Wikkus » Thu May 01, 2014 5:03 pm

Ooh, good find, Jim! I had a TrackIR 5 on my birthday present wishlist but got socks and pants instead... Having recently rediscovered the joy of soldering fixing my TM HoTAS Cougar, I could give this a whirl :D

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Re: DIY Head Tracking device for £10!

Postby Nobkins » Fri May 09, 2014 11:57 am

The daughter boards are now available. This is the situation at the moment. I have previously expressed an interest on the Elite forums so I have received a PM. It reads as follows:

Hello there, according to our list you have expressed an interest in a DIY EDTracker board and I am pleased to inform you they are now available! At the moment we are having to scrub off some artwork to keep 3rd parties happy from a legal perspective, however the boards themselves are completely functional and it is a cosmetic change only.

A board by itself is £5 and this includes postage within the UK; if you are further afield then let us know and we can calculate shipping and advise a total.
We are also offering a limited service of fully made-up boards, offered on a ""best endeavours"" basis, should you wish to have a complete unit made up. This includes the board, the Arduino, the MPU and a switch. We are asking for £25+P&P to cover the obvious time/effort that is needed to make them up, flash them and test them. If you want a full board, let us know and we will advise you on how long it will be before it's ready (it will depend on stock of components and time available).

Payment can be arranged by various means - PayPal or direct bank transfer - details of which will follow.

If you are still interested, please respond with items required and an address, and we can finalise price and payment.


To save you having to read through the whole thread this is what you will need to make a DIY head tracker:
  • One of the circuit boards from above (£5 inc postage in the UK)
  • Hobby Components head tracker kit (they created this due to the demand for the parts). You will just throw away the circuit board that comes in the kit. This is £8.99 + postage (2nd class is £2.30, 1st is £2.70)

That's it other than a soldering iron and some patience. All the instructions are available to build the device. Here are the important ones if you need them. I grabbed them from the 1st post in the thread.


What you end up with is a joystick (as far as windows is concerned).

If you are interested then I suggest you sign up to the Frontier forums and PM one of the following usernames (they each have approx. 300 boards to sell for £5 inc UK postage):
  • Pocketmoon (Rob)
  • Brumster (Dan)
  • Dead Fred (Dorian)

Alternatively if anyone is not willing / able to DIY it then they offer (as per the quote above) to make one for you for £25 + P&P on a case by case basis (as it says in the quote).

Mine is on order already :D

Total cost is approx £17. Yes I know this isn't £10. You can make it for just about £10 by just purchasing the kit for Hobby components (as that is all you need). This comes to £11.29 with 2nd class postage included. I think the extra £5 is worth it for the custom circuit board as this results in a much more compact device. It still doesn't have a box or anything but you might be able to fashion something yourselves. They are looking at making a custom enclosure but that will be some time in the future. It should be compatible with anything you purchase now anyway.

Only warning is to be careful as the USB connection does not take much force. As there is no enclosure any force applied to the cable applies stress to the circuit board on the Arduino.

Enjoy.

Jim
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Re: DIY Head Tracking device for £10!

Postby VictoryWorks » Fri May 09, 2014 4:03 pm

Interesting, much appreciate all the links in the one place Jim.
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