Cheap 360 degree head tracking


[Joel] sent in his efforts to build an inexpensive 360 degree head tracking display. He’s using a Playstation six axis controller as the key to his helmet tracking system. The demo is short and to the point. He’s using the usual Glovepie driver to provide the software interface and what looks like off the shelf hardware on the helmet.

What really grabs my attention is the low cost of getting into VR now. Assuming that you own a computer, you can build your own VR setup for the cost of a Playstation controller and a cheap heads up display. (Remember these?)

10 thoughts on “Cheap 360 degree head tracking

  1. Woa, the sixaxis as an accelerometer with 6-degrees of freedom?? That’s freaking awesome! Kits for those accelerometers were over $100 on sparkfun last time I checked. With the Wiimote, you need to combine information from the the sensor bar to derive position while the remote is moving in order to get more than 3-degrees of freedom. I hope people can get the sixaxis’s bluetooth communication figured out – I think at the moment people who do this need to use the wired usb connection.

  2. edz,

    It’s not absolute rotational sensing in the horizontal place, it’s just acceleration around the axis (at least, that’s my assumption). So, given that these accelerometers tend to accumulate error over time, there will eventually be drift. But, for the purposes of VR, you probably wouldn’t notice it until you took the googles off and noticed you were standing in a different direction than when you started (although, it would be really weird if the tilt of your head started to drift such that you had to physically tilt your head in order to make the image appear level).

  3. Cool. Very tempting now that you can get these controllers for ~$30 online now.

    I wonder if just having the nunchuk (which has another accelerometer) connected to a wiimote if you could get enough data to do the same thing. You’d get wireless working right now this way, though it’d cost more if you didn’t already have the Wiimote/nunchuk (which I’m guessing a fair number of people do).

  4. To compensate for drift in gyroscopes like this, you can use a Kalman filter to fuse data from accelerometers and gyros. The accelerometers can find the direction down to compensate for drift.

  5. hi guys, I’m the one who sumbitted the news for this article.
    a couple things need to be addressed
    1. i know it is similar to Johnny Lee’s wiimote VR projects, i too started with the wiimote, but since the wiimote doesn’t have a GYROSCOPE it cannot track 360degrees of rotation, with with its IR tracking.

    2. the accelerometers are used to know which way is up (because of gravity) therefore GlovePIE can provide an angle of Pitch and Roll, which i applied into the game. Yaw (rotation) is calculated with the gyroscope and is easily calibrated if you understand how to program in glovepie.

    3. the HMD that i used it technically off the shelf, the casing is from an old VFX1 VR helm that was gutted and retrofitted with a (very) cheap evertek HMD

    i’ll be making another video soon, and i’ll post it my website eventually.
    -joel

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