[AchillesVM] decided to build a tabletop electric fan so it would track him as he moves around the room. Pan and tilt control is provided by a pair of servos controlled by a Raspberry Pi 3b+. How does it know where [AchillesVM} is? It captures the scene using a Raspberry Pi v2 Camera and uses OpenCV’s default face-tracking algorithm to find him. Well, strictly speaking, it tracks anyone’s face around the room. If multiple faces are detected, it follows the largest — which is usually the person closest to the fan.
The whole processing loop runs at 60 ms, so the speed of the servo mechanism is probably the limiting factor when it comes to following fast-moving house guests. At first glance it might look like an old fan from the 1920s, in fact [AchillesVM] built the whole thing by himself, 3D-printing case and using a few off-the-shelf parts (like the 25 cm R/C plane propeller).
To eliminate pumping, the build instead enlists the services of an electric pump, powered by a 12 V battery. Pushing water through a tube into a 3D printed nozzle, it provides a fat stream of water with around 5 meters range, with little effort from the user. The nozzle is fitted into a NES Zapper, and attached to a servo pan-tilt platform. The camera is mounted on the water gun, and hooked up to a set of Fat Shark FPV goggles with an IMU unit. When the user looks around, the water gun moves in sync with their head movements. This allows for the user to look at targets to hit them with the water stream, a very intuitive method of aiming.
It’s a fun build that’s perfect for the summer, and an easy one to recreate for anyone with some spare servos and FPV gear. Of course, with a little face-tracking software, it would be easy to hit targets automatically. Video after the break.
While there’s been a lot of advancements in VR gaming over the last couple of years, plenty of folks are still happy enough to just stare at their monitor. But that’s not to say some of those fancy head-tracking tricks wouldn’t be a welcome addition to their repertoire. For players who are literally looking to get their head in the game, [Adrian Schwizgebel] has created qeMotion.
The idea here is simple enough: attach a motion sensor to a standard gaming headset (here a MPU-6050 IMU), and use the data from it to virtually “press” keys through USB HID emulation. Many first person shooter games offer the ability to lean left or right by pressing Q or E respectively, so all [Adrian] had to do was map the appropriate accelerometer readings to those keys for it to work seamlessly with popular titles such as Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege and Insurgency.
The concept might be basic, but the execution is anything but. Rather than just duct taping an Arduino to his headset, [Adrian] designed a very slick 3D printed enclosure for the electronics that sits on his desk. While they haven’t all been implemented yet, the devices features indicator lights and buttons to switch through various modes. The sensor on the headset has similarly been encased in a very professional looking 3D printed box, complete with a nice braided cable to link it to the desk unit.
The folks behind the Atmos Extended Reality (XR) headset want to provide improved accessibility with an open ecosystem, and they aim to do it with a WebVR-capable headset design that is self-contained, 3D-printable, and open-sourced. Their immediate goal is to release a development kit, then refine the design for a wider release.
The front of the headset has a camera-based tracking board to provide all the modern goodies like inside-out head and hand tracking as well as the ability to pass through video. The design also provides for a variety of interface methods such as eye tracking and 6 DoF controllers.
With all that, the headset gives users maximum flexibility to experiment with and create different applications while working to keep development simple. A short video showing off the modular design of the HMD and optical assembly is embedded below.
Extended Reality (XR) has emerged as a catch-all term to cover broad combinations of real and virtual elements. On one end of the spectrum are completely virtual elements such as in virtual reality (VR), and towards the other end of the spectrum are things like augmented reality (AR) in which virtual elements are integrated with real ones in varying ratios. With the ability to sense the real world and pass through video from the cameras, developers can choose to integrate as much or as little as they wish.
[AlexPewPew] tipped us off on some interesting virtual reality work going on at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. Mapping a user’s head movement to match the images shown in a head mounted display is something the Oculus Rift is very good at. But in order to walk and move around freely in that virtual environment requires completely different hardware. We’ve seen some ingenious setups before, but nothing as efficient as this.
In the video above, they have put sheets of bar-coded paper on the ceiling in a grid pattern. A camera that mounts on the users head looks up at the grid of papers and gets the user’s location. The neatest part though, is how they are fitting a large virtual space into a small room. As the user walks down a straight virtual path, software is slowly making the actual path in the small room curve. The end result is the user walks in circles in the small room, thinking he or she is exploring a much larger space. Neat stuff!
If you have a head mounted display lying around, and can’t think of anything to enter into The Hackaday Prize contest, this would be a great concept to work on. What are you waiting for…get hacking!
[programing4fun] has been playing around with his Kinect-based 3D display and building a holographic WALL-E controllable with a Windows phone. It’s a ‘kid safe’ version of his Terminator personal assistant that has voice control and support for 3d anaglyph and shutter glasses.
When we saw [programming4fun]’s Kinect hologram setup last summer we were blown away. By tracking a user’s head with a Kinect, [programming] was able to display a 3D image using only a projector. This build was adapted into a 3D multitouch table and real life portals, so we’re glad to see [programming4fun] refining his code and coming up with some really neat builds.
In addition to robotic avatars catering to your every wish, [programming4fun] also put together a rudimentary helicopter flight simulator controlled by tilting cell phone. It’s the same DirectX 9 heli from [programming]’s original build. with the addition of Desert Strike-esque top-down graphics. This might be the future of gaming here, so we’ll keep our eyes out for similar head-tracking 3D builds.
Although virtual reality was the wave of the future in the early 90’s, it hasn’t really taken off the way we would have liked. Sometimes a great idea just takes time for the technology to catch up to it (Aeolipile anyone?). Now that tiny projectors, realistic FPS games, and eye tracking systems have come down in price, this head-tracking projection system engineered by students at University of Texas at Austin could be the start of something really neat.