Head tracking

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?

(cachya, sightseeing)

(cachya, dogfight)


(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.

2 Replies to “Head tracking”

  1. You don’t need to use leds with Freetrack, you can use reflective tape and an infrared light source to illuminate them.

    However, leds are more robust to background light, if you use them you should use infrared leds which emit light that is only visible to your webcam. You won’t look like a Christmas tree.

    Freetrack supports almost every TrackIR game.

    Live for Speed demonstration:

    Armed Assault demonstration:

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