66% or better

Location tracking using IR throwies

[Joe] and his team hacked together some location tracking using IR throwies for their final project. The challenge they undertook was to find a way to track the orientation of a sculpture in the form of a rotating metal cube. The end result dips its toe into the augmented reality pool but the methods are what interest us.

They wanted this to work day or night so contrast would be a major issue if working completely with image manipulation. Having a simple way to pick out the corners of the monotone block would make this process a breeze. They ended up using magnetic throwies that have an infrared LED which can easily be picked up by a webcam no matter what the ambient light issues happen to be.

After the break you can see these guys out in the wild testing the system. We’d like to note the diffusers used in the project. We’re used to seeing ping-pong balls as diffusers but this is the first time we’ve noticed Styrofoam balls being used.

Comments

  1. nrp says:

    Styrofoam balls work significantly better. They are somewhat more expensive, but you can sometimes get 50% off coupons for places like Michaels.

  2. xchip says:

    I am fed up with throwies… batteries should not be throwed away for fun, batteries should be properly disposed and sites like Hack a Day should not encourage this practices.

  3. Jason says:

    Neat. Now if they just paired the realtime data with some projection mapping they could have a very interesting tangible interface to play with!

  4. wingless says:

    If I am not mistaken, I believe that throwies actually imply that they can be thrown, not that they are simply thrown away after-wards. Chiiiillll. I love augmented reality projects.

  5. Ryan says:

    @xchip I completely agree. This practice is ridiculous, and I think its pretty much encouraged that you throw them on moving items such as trains in many instructables..

    I don’t know how anyone thinks that purposely throwing heavy metals in the environment is a good idea. The CR2303 batteries have found themselves in so many useless items that just end up in the trash when spent. Such as flicking candle LEDs..

    Anyway this project looks like a decent use for them.. Cool.

  6. kdougan says:

    seriously? commenting on the terminology of the parts used? shouldn’t the focus be on the actual implementation? whatever…

    cool project and i agree with the use of a projector. would make it fun to play with for sure.

  7. markii says:

    that is one huuuge cube!

  8. octel says:

    @kdougan
    wow, sorry for offending your delicate sensibilities by discussing a very real problem with ‘throwies’. the original ones were specifically disposable (forgettable). bad name, bad idea, bad connotations

    you should switch over that other internet where people only discuss things *you* like!

  9. zestysauce says:

    speaking of openCV, has anyone figured out how to increase the resolution when capturing from a webcam?

  10. TEh mechanic says:

    Throwies as a term doesnt necesserely mean u throw them away. it means you throw them…u can still dispose of them in a sensible matter afterwards. its very presumptious to think that it is bad just because of some senseless people.

  11. jrjones says:

    ITP students right?

  12. joe says:

    not ITP, Parsons MFA Design and Technology!

  13. jrjones says:

    A lil bit of Parsons flag waving there, ;-)

  14. manontherun says:

    I found a way to recharge Li coin cells, seems that putting them in a case then freezing them and charging at 0.5mA works most of the time.
    The capacity is pretty high, near 80% but this can only be done safely maybe twice..

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