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UPDATE 8/18/09:
TrackSkull RELEASED!!!

Visit here for details:
http://www.halloweenforum.com/announcements-press-releases/80039-released-trackskull-head-joystick-motion-capture-animated-props.html#post706567


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So I've decided to reveal what I have been working on.

I've called it TrackSkull and it allows you to use an IR camera (with funny head piece) and record your head's motion and transfer it to VSA.

The best way to describe it is to just show you... so here is a demo video. I'm a bit camera shy, so I had my dead friend stand in for me.
YouTube - TrackSkull Demo by MonkeyBasic.com

IR Camera: TrackIR 4:pRO - Premium head tracking view control immersion for flight racing and action simulator
Software: My own - (In progress)

Thanks go to evilbob and kennyw76 for their help, ideas, and suggestions.

So what does everyone think?
 

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The Evil Apparitionist
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Nice job. Nice to have a simple user interface for this.
I looked into all the head tracking stuff about a year ago and developed my own system for free based on a cheapo webcam. The TrackIR was the first thing I looked at but I decided to find a cheaper way. There is a ton of open source stuff out there to choose from coming out of virtual reality controls for flight simulator programs. Basically just face or head positions translated into joystick or mouse movements. Mine looks for a single black dot (sticky) on my face.
 

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Very Cool

I agree that this would make programming my skulls oh so much easier. I would for sure be interested. What about jaw movement, don't suppose that is captured also? That would make it completely over the top.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Nice job. Nice to have a simple user interface for this.
I looked into all the head tracking stuff about a year ago and developed my own system for free based on a cheapo webcam. The TrackIR was the first thing I looked at but I decided to find a cheaper way. There is a ton of open source stuff out there to choose from coming out of virtual reality controls for flight simulator programs. Basically just face or head positions translated into joystick or mouse movements. Mine looks for a single black dot (sticky) on my face.
I looked into a bunch of different suggestions (one suggestion was even to try using the Wii remote hack). Only problem I found was that most systems only did a X,Y,Z translation. Which I'm sure with a bit of work, I could get to work. The TrackIR has built in Yaw, Pitch & Roll tracking which made my job very easy. Plus you can't beat the free SDK!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I agree that this would make programming my skulls oh so much easier. I would for sure be interested. What about jaw movement, don't suppose that is captured also? That would make it completely over the top.
I'm open to any ideas... I personally just re-sing the song and let VSA interpret it.
Very Nice!
How much?
The software is FREE, but the TrackIR is going to cost you.
The best price I found was here: TheHumanSolution.com - Natural Point TrackIR 4 Pro Head Tracker Mouse for $114.00 (price changes daily) plus you can $10 off with coupon 'ergonomics' and free shipping.
So you would pay $104.00 shipped!
 

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This program seems like it has potential for a "live puppeteer" setup, kind of like Disney's "Living Character Initiative" program.
If it were to be used for that, (which I think would be used by MANY people) there would be a few things to take into consideration:
The jaw would have to either be controlled by a button on a joystick or keyboard, or you would have to build a sound-to-motion audio driver into your software to control it.
If using 2 axis eyes, you would have to find a way to control them. Could be as easy as moving the mouse left/right/up/down, or more complicated (writing a program to "co-puppet" the eyes, make them move around in a normal fashion, and look left or right when the head turns that direction.)

Then, it would be up to the user to setup a camera so they could see who they were talking to.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
This is really quite exciting (and not too expensive, either)!
So what does this software do in relation to VSA (ie: does it gather the information and then you import the info into VSA, or something else)?
When (roughly) do you think the software will be ready for download?
It is similar to parlay (if you have used that). It will create a text file that can be imported into VSA. You will set the servo limits and channel when you export the data.

Hope to be done in a month or so... I'm open to have people beta test as well before the offical release (if they don't mind some bugs :) )
 

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Haha... I've seen lots of Johnny Lee.

I could have used any IR camera (including the Wii remote), but it would have required more development, especially trying to interpret the 3 dot image. (You need 3 dots to do Yaw, Pitch, and Roll). TrackIR came with what I needed already included. Less work for me :)
 

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So what is the trackIR ?I see the pictures but what does it do?it just records/tracks the movement and puts it in data form?or is it a powered mount that makes the head move?And why does your guy remind me of Ron Howard?
 

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So what is the trackIR ?I see the pictures but what does it do?it just records/tracks the movement and puts it in data form?or is it a powered mount that makes the head move?And why does your guy remind me of Ron Howard?
TrackIR is a hardware system consisting on an IR Camera and the head piece (with 3 reflectors) that you see on the Wii hat. It is used to track the movement and send to data to my software. A person would typically be wearing the hat.
As far as Ron Howard... yeah, don't see it :)
 
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