One of the biggest concerns with single-camera based optical tracking solutions is occlusion—when the tracking target is hidden from the camera’s view. TrinityVR has announced that they are working to bring multi-camera support to the Magnum VR motion controller, eliminating the occlusion issue, to enable 360 degree tracking.
The Trinity Magnum is a VR motion input controller that uses optical (image-based) tracking to provide absolute position for the gun-shaped controller. TrinityVR, the company behind the Magnum, sets itself apart by utilizing inexpensive webcams to provide an affordable VR motion controller. The company is currently running a Kickstarter to fund creation of the Trinity Magnum development kit.
Perhaps the biggest contributor of optical tracking occlusion is simply facing away from the tracking camera such that the tracking element is hidden behind the player. TrinityVR has been thinking about this issue and is preparing a solution. By combining two cameras, its possible to achieve 360 degree optical tracking. This is of course what complicated optical motion capture rigs have been doing for years, usually with vast arrays of incredibly expensive cameras.
With TrinityVR’s solution, two inexpensive (~$10) PlayStation Eye cameras could provide a 360 degree tracking space with latency and accuracy acceptable for VR gaming, according to the company. A video posted in an update to the Trinity Magnum Kickstarter shows the company’s promising progress on multi-cam tracking. In the video we can see the tracking marker firmly planted on the tracking orb with no misdetection. As the orb pulls away from one camera, the other camera picks it up long before the first loses sight of the orb.
I’m even more excited at the prospect of multi-cam capability from the Trinity Magnum after seeing the impressive tracking capabilities of the Oculus Rift DK2’s positional tracking camera. TrinityVR expects they’ll be able to utilize the DK2’s IR camera for tracking the Magnum, as mentioned to Road to VR in a recent interview.
TrinityVR Announces Partnership with Striker VR, PrioVR, and Cyberith
In the same Kickstarter update, TrinityVR announced strategic partnerships with two big names in the VR world: PrioVR and Cyberith, and with one newcomer, Striker VR, who’s developing a realistic recoil solution aimed at the virtual reality market.
Julian Volyn, TrinityVR’s Chief of Product, told me, “We are looking to integrate electronic recoil haptics into the consumer version of the Magnum and are discussing Striker VR peripherals for the developer kit. More details will be following as the relationship develops, we have entered into an agreement that will involve cross-licensing some of our technologies,” when asked about the formative relationship between the two companies.
Striker VR says that they’ve designed an electronic recoil solution that provides better feedback with less maintenance than competing pneumatic solutions.
With regard to PrioVR and Cyberith, a VR motion input suit and VR treadmill, respectively, TrinityVR says they are “…proud to announce strategic partnerships that will bring us closer to “full immersion” in VR with integration with full body tracking, omnidirectional interaction and realistic haptics. We’ve been talking with our partners to ensure compatibility and future integration with our products. More details will be following in the coming weeks.”
PrioVR is an IMU-based system which lacks absolute positioning—combining it with TrinityVR’s solution could add the absolute position component. And now with inexpensive 360 degree optical tracking on the horizon, TrinityVR could be a great match for a VR treadmill like Cyberith. Hell… why not mash all three together for some fun!
Full Disclosure: TrinityVR is running Magnum ads on Road to VR.