Matthias Rosezky's Lightweight Head-Tracking Clip Brings a New Dimension to Sim Games

Powering three infrared LEDs from a lithium-polymer battery, this lightweight head-tracking add-on simply sticks to your gaming headset.

Gareth Halfacree
27 days agoGames / Wearables / HW101

Physics and astronomy student Matthias "NuclearPhoenix" Rosezky has designed a lightweight wearable for the OpenTrack head-tracking software, designed for pairing with a high refresh rate camera modified for infrared capture — providing head-tracking support in a range of simulation games.

"[I] wanted to build myself an IR [infrared] head tracking setup because I wasn't pleased with the performance and reliability of webcam face tracking," Rosezky explains. "However, I didn't want to buy any of the existing over-priced tracking clips that even only used a solid USB connection or AA/AAA batteries. I also didn't want to quickly hack something together using my 3D printer or even cardboard and hot glue like some of ya do (you know who you are). Instead I went about to design my own simple little tracking clip and I have to say I'm pretty happy with the results so far."

Rosezky's requirements for project were to build a low-complexity solution that wouldn't have annoying cables and would be light enough to easily attach to any off-the-shelf gaming headset without discomfort. The result is a curved PCB, used bare, which houses three wide-viewing-angle infrared LEDs — "so you can literally sit like 30 centimeters [around 12 inches] in front of your camera and it still works fine," Rosezky explains.

At the mid-point of the curved board is a controlling circuit, providing a place to mount a 250-350mAh battery — good for at least eight hours' continuous usage, Rosezky says — and a USB Type-C connector for charging. There's a physical on-off switch, and "various protections for charging and a fuse to prevent the battery from short-circuiting and going thermonuclear on your head or something," though no over-discharge protection.

"The rest of the project is pretty standard like most other projects of this type," Rosezky notes. "I'm using a [Sony] PS3 Eye camera because you can get them for cheap and they have a high refresh rate. You will have to remove the integrated IR filter and replace it with something that blocks visible light, but not IR. To mount the thing to your headset simply use small cable ties through the mounting holes or strap on some Velcro or something."

The build is documented on Rosezky's Hackaday.io page. "I might add production files and schematics in the future when I feel comfortable doing so," he adds, noting that it was still a work-in-progress at the time of writing.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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