Joe: If the camera is that much more responsive, won’t it pick up some of my unwanted head movements?
Seth: I’ve seen a TrackIR 5, while tracking stationary markers on a tripod, register the footfalls of a developer walking by the unit about 10 feet away. It’s that sensitive. However, this definitely isn’t something that should concern potential users. If you add a tiny bit of smoothing, all of the unwanted movements will be filtered out, while desired head movements will still be meticulously tracked.
It’s much more desirable to have a camera that needs smoothing to dampen its precision than the alternative — a camera that requires smoothing to mask a lack of sufficient resolution. The former will not impede responsiveness in pursuit of stability. The latter will result in mushy, slow tracking as a result of excessive smoothing.
Joe: If TrackIR 5 is so much better than 4, why continue to sell TrackIR 4?
Seth: We’d love everyone to purchase a new TrackIR 5. It’s the culmination of a lot of hard work, and we think it offers a tremendously improved head tracking experience. But, we also want to get this technology in the hands of as many people as possible. TrackIR is now more affordable than ever before. The hope is that those potential users that are more price sensitive will now be able to enjoy head tracking like the rest of the existing TrackIR community.
Joe: Does the new software increase performance as well?
Seth: It is important to understand that, while upgrading to the TrackIR 5 software will really improve the overall TrackIR experience, it does not give TrackIR 4 users the performance level of TrackIR 5. The majority of TrackIR 5’s improvements are hardware derived. However, the 5.0 software does integrate our new trajectorization technology, Spurious Marker Rejection. It’s able to isolate unwanted objects in the camera’s view and reject them as possible solutions to the vector algorithm. As a result, it’s now possible to have stable tracking with small, immobile, ambient light sources in the camera’s view.
Additionally, while not directly impacting the performance of the camera, the new software has a vastly improved UI layout and preview system. Once users get acclimated to the new workflow, the TrackIR tweaking process will be much simpler. Where with previous software versions many important controls were located in pop up windows or various settings menus, 5.0 puts everything a click or two away. The goal was to put all of the most common settings and options at user’s fingertips.
Joe: So owners of previous generations can use the new software? Do they have to purchase it?
Seth: TrackIR 4 users can use 5.0 right now. The download link is here. TrackIR 3 users with the Vector expansion will have support in version 5.1. It is a free upgrade for both.
Joe: Thank you again for your time Seth. SimHQ is currently testing the TrackIR 5 for our upcoming review.
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