NaturalPoint's TrackIR 4 Pro
familiar phase says that good things come in small packages.
True for things like diamond rings, but what about tiny technology,
in particular the new TrackIR 4 Pro just released by NaturalPoint?
We're going to take a look at this little gizmo and do some
comparisons between it and it's older, larger sibling, the
TrackIR 3 Pro with Vector Expansion.
is really revolutionary in playing computer simulations, and
it's evolution has been quite rapid. Just within the last
year or so, we've seen the TrackIR 3 Pro (TIR3), then the
Vector Expansion (also known as Vector Pro) add-on for the
TIR3, and now the TrackIR 4 Pro (TIR4) with built-in 6 Degrees
of Freedom (6DOF), which is what Vector Pro is all about.
not familiar, TrackIR is the remarkable engineering that transfers
the movement of your head into similar view motion on a monitor
playing your favorite simulation. The TIR3 enabled you to
look up and down, and side to side, two axis motion. With
the Vector Pro, which is the software upgrade and a metal
clip attached to your cap or headset, you get those two axis,
plus tilting side-to-side, leaning left and right, lifting
up and down, and zooming in and out. If I counted all my axis
correctly, that's six, and they're really something you have
looking out the side of your favorite tail-dragger aircraft
and seeing the runway, or lifting up out of your seat and
taking a look over the hood of your Shelby GT350 to better
see that dip in the track ahead, or moving your face up closer
and actually zooming in on that cockpit MFD so you can better
see the bogeys like fireflies.
this is possible by way of a small sending/receiving unit
that looks to me like a robot with electric red, green, and
blue eyes and three small reflective squares on that metal
clip I mentioned. If you have just the two axis, without Vector
Pro , you only need one reflective square or dot. NaturalPoint
previously made their caps with a built-in reflective square
on the brim for this purpose, or you could just peel off one
of the adhesive dot papers they supplied and stick it on a
cap or on the middle of your forehead for that matter. Some
people would forget the dots were there, which was slightly
embarrassing if you had to get up and go answer the door when
the pizza delivery man arrived and had this thing stuck on
in TrackIR, so much so that I couldn't envision playing flight
simulations, especially combat flight sims, without it. I
was never even decent at using padlocking. It was more hazardous
to my health by way of ground collisions than the enemy aircraft
were. With TrackIR, all I do is look in the direction of the
object I want to follow, than move my head naturally as it's
position changes and keep it in view. Lose sight, lose the
fight is another familiar phrase in air-to-air combat parlance
and anything that helps you with that is good.
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