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Force_Majeure

Force's New FreeTrack Setup

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Hello geeys,

 

A while ago I posted pictures of my WIP FreeTrack project. This weekend, I finished the project, which will become my "Generation 4" FreeTrack setup. The biggest upgrade from Generation 3 to 4 is a completely wireless setup with on-off switch and overall stability of the frame. I can't tell you how annoying it has been for the past 4+ years using FreeTrack to have cables coming from your head. Everytime you get up you have to take your setup off. In addition, on my older setups sometimes the frame dimensions would change due to a non-rigid design.

 

Construction Notes:

 

All internal wiring is housed in the white frame tubes. Used a very strong bond material, sort of like apoxy, to glue to "T" frame in place. I touched the joint up with some paint for cosmetic purposes. I used a cheap 2x AA battery holder with on/off switch for easy function. Used some rigid plastic tubing for the frame and a larger tube to house the wiring and resistors on the side of the battery holder. Frame is glued onto the battery holder. A large paper clip (i'm not kidding) holds the battery holder, and hence the entire assembly, to the hat. I kept some wires outside of the assembly towards the back in case I need to go back in and replace an LED.

 

Specs and Features:

 

2.4V power supply (2x1.2V AA batteries, rechargeable)

Parallel circuitry

3x 27 Ohm Resistors, 1 resistor on three + wires leading to power source.

 

Light weight

Entire assembly can be removed from hat intact and placed on another hat in less than 20 seconds, completely modular.

Much better cosmetic presentation

 

For reference from left to right, Generation 1, Generation 2&3, Generation 4:

 

photo1-3_zps3973e776.jpg

 

photo-1_zps9896f7aa.jpg

 

image1_zps5c2c1d7d.jpeg

 

image2_zps6d8c6e84.jpeg

 

image_zps3a3fcd0c.jpeg

 

If you have any questions about FreeTrack, please let me know.

 

Force

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To be honest the whole project could be completed in about 2 hours, though it took me about two afternoons to complete due to schoolwork. After acquiring all the necessary materials, it's relatively fast if you know what your doing. Programming, on the other hand, probably takes roughly 1.5 hours to make sure your profile is comfortable. As with any headtracking device, tampering with your profile will be something you do forever.

 

1) Construct the frame and glue it on. The apoxy-like material I used needed about 15 minutes to cure and of course I painted the joint, in total I had to probably wait about 30 minutes to let everything dry.

 

2) Run the wiring through the frame and solder them to the LED's. Be sure to keep track of what is positive and negative so you don't make any mistakes.

 

3) Pick either the positive or negative wires to solder 27 Ohm resistors (varies depending on power supply), and in turn connect the three resistors to a single point. Do the same for the other polarity but without the resistors. Simply solder the two polarities, positive and negative, to their respective wires on the power supply (red is positive, black is negative).

 

4) I stuffed the wiring into a large plastic tube on the side of the power supply to make the model look better. It also allows me to resolder the joints in case an LED fails.

 

5) Snap the model on your hat and your good to go.

 

Force

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Sweet.

Been thinking about FreeTrack for a while (especially/particularly for flying helo). Maybe I'll be one of your first guinea pigs!

^5

 

p.s. just remembered what's been stopping me: prepping the web cam. gotta remove the IR film/filter from the lens, yaa? I've got a coupla old cams ... not sure if that's dead easy or a show-stopper.

Edited by Dawks

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The single best camera for Freetrack out there is PS 3 Eye webcam, which is also thankfully pretty cheap. It's the only camera on the market that has 120 FPS which is very important for Freetrack (makes it more smooth and precise). Below you can find tutorial videos on how to prepare the cam by removing the IR filter from inside:

 

 

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I personally would recommend the Microsoft VX-3000. I have been using it for 5 years now with no problems, it has stable 30 FPS, and is easy to remove.

 

Force

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Beware: Some models of PS3 eye have a filter that cannot be removed.

 

Ah yes, here's how to distinguish them. I was lucky since I did not know about this issue when I bought mine and got the good model. Rumor is the ones sold in United States are the good ones but it's better to see for yourself:

 

http://www.peauproductions.com/blog/2009/04/17/the-two-types-of-ps3-eye-stock-lenses-pictures-of-each/

 

I personally would recommend the Microsoft VX-3000. I have been using it for 5 years now with no problems, it has stable 30 FPS, and is easy to remove.

 

I would not recommend a webcam that has only 30 fps. That's way too low to provide proper tracking and smoothness. It might be enough for you now Force since you might not have a comparison but trust me, if you tried a 120fps webcam you would not like to go back to the previous one, ever. 120 fps gives you the same smoothness and quality of tracking as TracIR. Add the fact that Ps3 eye is a cheap cam and there is really no reason to settle for less. I think Wii mote can be used in similar fashon at 90 fps but is a bit worse (http://www.free-track.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=3001)

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As another alternative, I am using freetrack setup with 3 red leds and the ps-eye. I have not removed the ir filter and have not yet, in more than a year, had any issues with tracking the leds.

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That could work if you don't have any reflecting objects in the background or light bulbs/lamps etc. I tried that but it would even pick up my wedding ring or a glass reflecting sunlight as well as the lamp behind me and I had serious trouble tracking because of it. It might work if you set all the contrasts very carefully but is very easy to screw up depending what exactly there is in front of the camera. I'd use that only as an emergency method if you really can't pull the IR filter out.

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I must modify my 3 point clip and move the battery from it, because when i move my head my headset falls of.

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what made you choose the hat type tracker over the 3 point clip on type? is there any benefit or is it just preference? I just finished making a clip type but I still need to tweak it a bit as the points disapear when I'm looking past about 60 degrees to either side. Already filed them down but I think I may have taped too much of the sides.

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As another alternative, I am using freetrack setup with 3 red leds and the ps-eye. I have not removed the ir filter and have not yet, in more than a year, had any issues with tracking the leds.
That's what I've wondered about. Camera software should include color correction, right? Sooo exagerate the red and that should do it, no?

Not as secure / robust as IR w/filter removed, but a whole lot simpler.

Edited by Dawks

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That's what I've wondered about. Camera software should include color correction, right? Sooo exagerate the red and that should do it, no?

Not as secure / robust as IR w/filter removed, but a whole lot simpler.

 

Yeah, the range of adjustment is so great that even with the sun blarring through the window, my camera only picks up the leds. I wont lie though, its a real pain in the arse to adjust, but with gain controls it is very doable. It took me a few weeks of tweaking and playing to get it where i want. You have everything from pixel sizes to color that you want the program to use. But, the software I am using to adjust it is simply the facetrack software. You need that and the cl-eye drivers as the ps-eye was not meant to be used on the pc, it comes with no drivers or software. Either way, as a temporary solution, you can build a non-ir version and always upgrade when time permits and so on. Led's are cheap, whole setup cost me about 2 bucks excluding camera and there is really no other alternative than the ps-eye in my opinion. FPS is just insane, and for only 30 bucks you cant go wrong. But as mentioned here before, get the right one. I will post a screenie of the setup in freetrack on friday (exam tomorrow) and a link to one of my youtube vids to show you the response I am getting so you can make your own call. On friday though, I have to finish learning how the real f-16, 18, and a10 FLCS work and be able to know how to design specific parts of it by tomorrow.

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