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January 15th, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

I’ve recently been enjoying a game called Elite: Dangerous and found out an idea of an affordable head tracking solution had emerged from its forums. I figured this would be a cool project to do and would also be perfect for the site as I’ve been thinking it should have at least some content. So, I sourced a kit:


Simply an Arduino pro micro, a MPU9150 sensor, headers and a button. I’ll be installing them on a piece of perfboard. But first, the necessary wiring, the guide to which was helpfully provided on the building portion of the EDTracker website




I managed to hide all but one of the connection wires under the boards. That is also the reasoning behind the placement and alignment of the headers, i needed a bit of empty space under the sensor and Arduino. I then soldered everything together and since as shown on the picture my soldering skills are not the best, also opted to check each and every connection manually with a multimeter. Happily enough, everything was connected to what it was supposed to be and nothing else. So, time to power it up!

Oo, shiny! Macgyvered

With a shimmering LEDs the board came alive. Duct tape might have been a true hacker’s choice in mounting it but I opted for a rubber band for now. I’ll be building an enclosure for it later but that is just aesthetics, the functionality is already all here. However, the device was still just an Arduino and a sensor. The real magic of this particular kit is the superb software the EDTracker people put together. The newest version at the time this post was written was so that is what I used. I glanced quickly at the options the older 6050 sensor software had but soon just did the calibration of the 9150 which was simple enough: turned the device 180 degrees into every direction in the 3 available axis from the starting position and clicked Save. I then uploaded the actual EDTracker software, in this case EDTrackerII_9150 1.0.0.

I opted for the “Exponential” response scaling, in which I don’t have to turn my head that much to achieve say, a 90 degree angle. When I use the device with Mechwarrior: Online I might opt for a more linear scale if I’m to aim with it instead of just using it for looking around. But that is something to figure out on another day. We’re here for Elite: Dangerous. I fired up the game and quickly set up the ingame controls, that is the headlook horizontal/lateral axis, set headlook to on by default and disabled mouse control of headlook. I fiddled around a bit with deadzones on the axis but finally got the results best to my own liking by not having any. YMMV.

Orienting myself to using the device was surprisingly easy, though I’m yet to try it out in combat. I actually just recently got a X-55 Rhino HOTAS set which I’m still kind of getting used to so combat can wait for a tiny bit. I’ll definitely be using it for my livestreams ( find those at ( www.twitch.tv/digitalta ) but for now here is a sneak peek, as after a bit of flying around took a short video of an undock, lap around the station, redock trip. Find it embedded below:

That is all, thank you for checking out my log and hope you find inspiration to build a device of your own!

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