I stumbled on two interesting programs that effectively turn my webcam into a head tracking device. The first one is a reasonably priced commercial package called Cachya. They have a trial version available that I installed to play with. The second one is a french open source product freetrack.
Why is this interesting?
(freetrack with a race game)
So, basically this stuff allows you to look around while flying around in your flight simulator. Since I spend quite some time in x-plane that is highly interesting.
Of course I installed both packages.
Freetrack is free but has one disadvantage: you need to attach a bunch of leds to your head for it to work. Since I don’t have any, am not planning a career as a Christmas tree and since the documentation is in French, I didn’t get very far with it. But it’s free and definitely tempting to give another try.
I also tried Cachya. It seems quite nice and doesn’t require any leds. Instead it works with a symbol that you can print out and attach to your cap. You will still look silly of course but not so bad as with a bunch of leds attached to your head. And considering the above videos, I might end up buying it. The only problem is that the trial version so far is not very convincing. A problem is that I have some nasty backlight from the window which tends to confuse it. Also I had lots of issues controlling the demo with my head. So altogether, I’m not quite ready to get my wallet out yet.
Then of course the expensive option is track-ir. This one apparently works but it is quite expensive and you still end up attaching reflectors to your head and connecting a bulky tracking device to your PC.