Head Tracking and Helicopters


Hand tampered hat with tracking LEDS

Number one son is here over Christmas, which is great. He’s brought his “proper PC” with a hairy graphics card and a helicopter game which is great fun to watch him play. Particularly the bit where he spends five minutes doing pre-flight checks, starting the engines, aligning the controls, lifting off and then instantly crashing sideways into the tarmac.

He’s been experimenting with head tracking, where you put a camera on the monitor which tracks three leds that are attached to the headgear of your choice (in our case a Visual Studio baseball cap). It works very well. Particularly the bit where you put a piece of exposed film in front of the camera to filter out the visible light and only allow the infra-red leds to show through.  (Thanks to Simon for the LEDs by the way).

After a bit of careful configuration we now have a system which allows the player to look around the cockpit of the helicopter. It’s not completely real of course, since when you move your head the view itself stays in the same place, but it is good enough to be useful apparently. Great fun.