Sunday, March 1, 2009

Head Tracking for Desktop VR Displays using the Wii Remote

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Using the infrared camera in the Wii remote and a head mounted sensor bar (two IR LEDs), you can accurately track the location of your head and render view dependent images on the screen. This effectively transforms your display into a portal to a virtual environment. The display properly reacts to head and body movement as if it were a real window creating a realistic illusion of depth and space.
The program only needs to know your display size and the size of your sensor bar. The software is a custom C# DirectX program and is primarily provided as sample code for developers without support or additional documentation. You may need the most recent version of DirectX installed for this to work.
To run the DesktopVR program you see in the video:
1. Connect your wiimote to your PC via Bluetooth. If you don't know how to do this, you can follow this tutorial. I've been told it works with other Bluetooth drivers, but I have not tested them myself.
2. Download the WiiDesktopVR (v02) sample program. Read the README file on program usage and configuration. Launch the "WiiDesktopVR.exe" in the main folder. A potentially more stable/Vista/64-bit compatible version has been created by Andrea Leganza. There also may be more variants on the web.
NOTE: If you are having trouble with running the program, you can check my project blog post about it or check the forum for assistance. I am unable to replicate these problems, so it hard for me to debug them. But, other people have figured it out. Things that have been identified to help: delete the "config.dat" file and re-run the program, install a new version of Direct X, or istall .NET 2.0.
Developers Notes: The code is built on top of this Wiimote library. To compile the program, you will need a C# IDE and the DirectX SDK. More notes are in the README.
A visit to this project's FAQ and Advanced Discussion post may be very englightening. You may also find the official discussion forums for my wiimote projects helpful:

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