Oculus Touch Controllers Review

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The crew at Engadget say that, even though there is no rechargeable battery and they don't enable true room-scale VR, the Oculus Rift Touch controllers are well worth the wait.

Oculus had one job: Bring motion controls to the Rift. With the Touch controllers, it managed to do that well. And, surprisingly enough, the company also proved it could make a damn fine game controller. If you've already invested in a Rift, the Oculus Touch is a no-brainer purchase. And if you've been holding out for VR platforms to iron out some wrinkles, it's a sign that the virtual-reality ecosystem's growth isn't slowing down anytime soon.
 

pj-

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The lack of built in battery seems like a plus to me. It allows a much quicker turnaround time than when one of my vive controllers goes dead and it's pretty much the end of my VRing for the night.
 

bobzdar

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The lack of built in battery seems like a plus to me. It allows a much quicker turnaround time than when one of my vive controllers goes dead and it's pretty much the end of my VRing for the night.
Yup,and rechargeable AA's are cheap.
 

HeadRusch

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I think that article also states (or was it Ars that wrote this...?) that you can add 2 more cameras for a total of 4 and give yourself actual room-scale, you just need some USB cord extensions (it's not quite as elegant as the wireless situation on Vive). Either way, nice to know you can go there if you want to. Question: Do those twin-fisted shooters (where you stand in one space) require you to turn 360 or are they all mostly forward-facing....like Serious Sam, etc......I assume there is an arc, but are you required to be 360 turning at all? (Thinking yes but also no because we aren't wireless yet, and turning means cord twisting)......
 

aliaskary77

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Hopefully Kyle will post some opinions and compare it to the vive. Still on the fence on which one to go with now that the touch controls are out.
 

nysmo

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The lack of built in battery seems like a plus to me. It allows a much quicker turnaround time than when one of my vive controllers goes dead and it's pretty much the end of my VRing for the night.
Pfft, i dont know how long you VR but I never once had a controller die on me, those things lasted for days. Removable batteries just seems like another annoyance, and if one were to die while gaming I'd still have to remove the headset and fish out some replacement batteries, assuming the controllers even worked right initializing mid-game again. I'll definitely take the integrated rechargeables any day.
 

pj-

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Pfft, i dont know how long you VR but I never once had a controller die on me, those things lasted for days. Removable batteries just seems like another annoyance, and if one were to die while gaming I'd still have to remove the headset and fish out some replacement batteries, assuming the controllers even worked right initializing mid-game again. I'll definitely take the integrated rechargeables any day.

I don't always charge them between sessions. The place I store the controllers is not convenient to any outlets or USB ports. I've been using xbox 360/xbox one controllers for over 10 years and have never considered the batteries an annoyance.

It would be insane for the controllers to not work after powering on mid-game, I don't know why you'd even think of that.
 

Hagrid

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I can't wait to order some!

In all the demo's I still saw none that have free walk.
 

bobzdar

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Pfft, i dont know how long you VR but I never once had a controller die on me, those things lasted for days. Removable batteries just seems like another annoyance, and if one were to die while gaming I'd still have to remove the headset and fish out some replacement batteries, assuming the controllers even worked right initializing mid-game again. I'll definitely take the integrated rechargeables any day.

How is that worse than having to put the controllers on the charger and wait for them to charge if they die mid-game?
 

aliaskary77

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i guess the convenience come from the fact that to get through a days gaming session, you need sufficient charge.

With Vive, you just plug it in at the end of a session, and you are good to go for the next session.

With batteries, would you replace them at the beginning of a session even when batteries have not run out yet?

If using rechargeable batteries, would you take them out and recharge them if they have not run out? You could but its more work then just plugging in the cable.
 

pj-

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i guess the convenience come from the fact that to get through a days gaming session, you need sufficient charge.

With Vive, you just plug it in at the end of a session, and you are good to go for the next session.

With batteries, would you replace them at the beginning of a session even when batteries have not run out yet?

If using rechargeable batteries, would you take them out and recharge them if they have not run out? You could but its more work then just plugging in the cable.

You could replace them at the end of every session if you wanted to make sure you never ever went dead mid-game. If you buy a 4 pack of batteries you can always have 2 charged and ready to go. Swap them out when you're putting everything away, no big deal. Even in that overkill scenario it is still more convenient than dealing with built in batteries. I can't understand the mental gymnastics you're doing trying to make this a bad thing.

If you charge your vive controllers after every session that means you have 2 usb ports or 2 outlets with dangling cables permanently dedicated to the task (or you have the additional steps of digging out the cables/power adapters and plugging them in before you can charge). It means you have to either leave your controllers out all the time or only put them away hours later after they have fully charged.

Having removable batteries can be so much simpler. A 4 pack of eneloops and a charger. Plug it in and leave 2 batteries in the charger. Whenever you get the low battery warning, pause your game and spend 15 seconds swapping them out, putting the dead ones in the charger.

This is also ignoring the fact that the battery life on the Touch controllers is significantly longer than the Vive wands. I've read 20 hrs for touch vs the ~8 I experience with vive. If you don't want to worry about Touch dying mid game you can swap your batteries once a week and likely never run the risk of them dying unless you are a particularly hardcore player. Still less hassle than vive.
 

Nenu

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I had a play with touch this evening and it is fantastic.
It comes with another IR transmitter and a very good room setup util.
There are boundary controls just like the Vives.

Rift is definitely the better all round experience.
Better image by a long way, better controllers by a long way, lighter headset, better balanced headset, more comfortable, less weight/drag from the cable, fantastic audio quality, easily adjusted headphones, automatically fitted headphones, more comfortable headphones
....
This is what I hoped VR would be.
The only downer is Faceplant.
 
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MavericK

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The battery issue is not a big deal, unless the things chew through AAs like candy.

The lack of true roomscale and requiring 3+ cameras to do so is a bigger problem.

I am also not a fan of Oculus' closed ecosystem approach to VR.

No real interest in buying a Rift since I already have the Vive, but I'd be interested to try these at least...I wonder if they will do the Best Buy demos with Touch once they are more common...
 

nysmo

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How is that worse than having to put the controllers on the charger and wait for them to charge if they die mid-game?
Just plug them in and wait. The only way your VR controllers are going to die mid-game is if you failed to charge them up the night before (or went several days without charging). With removable batteries you have to fish out their replacements from a drawer somewhere, and remember to keep recycling them in and out of the hand set into an external charger and keep said charger nearby for this purpose. Just annoying overall. Would you want your phone charger to require replacing the battery every time to do it?
 

aliaskary77

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MavericK and pj-

they didnt in august when i was in houston, but the "experience" titles showing on oculus have been updated since. hoping to try both rift and vive again next week when in tampa.
 

nysmo

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I don't always charge them between sessions. The place I store the controllers is not convenient to any outlets or USB ports. I've been using xbox 360/xbox one controllers for over 10 years and have never considered the batteries an annoyance.

It would be insane for the controllers to not work after powering on mid-game, I don't know why you'd even think of that.
I dont get it, either way you have to charge your controllers, so why go with the option that requires removing the battery to do it? And the whole desync fear comes from what I remember about launching SteamVR. Before you enter a game you use the little launcher utility and it detects each peripheral. I thought it had to do this every time to make sure everything was connected before you launch the actual game. If you power off then power on a device mid session I dont know if it just picks up where you left off or not.
 

bobzdar

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Just plug them in and wait. The only way your VR controllers are going to die mid-game is if you failed to charge them up the night before (or went several days without charging). With removable batteries you have to fish out their replacements from a drawer somewhere, and remember to keep recycling them in and out of the hand set into an external charger and keep said charger nearby for this purpose. Just annoying overall. Would you want your phone charger to require replacing the battery every time to do it?

No, but my phone has wireless charging. I hate having to plug it in on the odd occasion it runs low and I still want to use it - I'd much rather swap the battery out in those instances.

I'm not advocating one or the other, it's honestly a complete and total non-issue either way. I think I like the Oculus setup better for the simple fact that the battery life is like 2x the Vive, but honestly it doesn't matter.
 

disemboweler

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Hopefully Kyle will post some opinions and compare it to the vive. Still on the fence on which one to go with now that the touch controls are out.

Having used both extensively, it's Rift all the way now with the Touch Controllers. VIVE was absolutely better before Rift's controllers came out, but now the Rift is better in pretty much every way except LARGE roomscale (since it can be done to 6' x 6' on Rift already with 2 sensors, and more with 3-4). And there will be few, if any, decent games that require spaces that large - the audience is WAY too small.

Rift has/is: more comfortable, lighter, smarter cable management so it gets in the way less often, has a neat carry case it comes in - which is surprisingly almost necessary if you take it places to show and use with people, better/easier audio, MUCH better motion controls with full finger movement detection, and more exclusive apps and compatible with all games now (at the very least you wont have to worry about using mods or hacks to play Rift exclusives on the VIVE). It's a little more expensive though, if you get the 3rd sensor (which you don't need but is recommended - you already spent $800, what's $75 more? haha).
 
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First impressions with Oculus Touch: worth the wait.

They're exceedingly comfortable to hold, the analog sticks have the barest minimum of center play (gamepad manufacturers, take note!), buttons have a nice response, grip button is intentionally so lightly sprung that it's never tiring to hold it in constantly, trigger has a good throw and just the right amount of spring resistance, and the rumble feedback is surprisingly nice for reinforcing the sense of tactility, if faint compared to the stronger motors used in typical gamepads.

However, tracking isn't perfect, especially if a sensor camera has to try to view it head-on or you're trying to pick up an object off the floor (which may have just as much to do with the fact that I can't mount my sensor cameras in opposing corners near the ceiling looking down, like I'd prefer to at the moment; desk and monitor occlusion aren't helping the issue any).

Also, last time I used SteamVR, the Touch controllers were still emulating Vive wands, resulting in things like trying to scroll in the Steam browser with the analog stick and watching it stop or even reverse a bit as I let go and the stick recentered - clearly designed to make sense on a trackpad, not an analog stick. Here's hoping they fix that in the upcoming betas, especially now that they've got the Touch controllers modeled properly now!

Those loops are also surprisingly durable, I must admit; I've accidentally smacked them on things before while getting carried away in VR! Gotta clear out more space here in the computer room. I'm sure Oculus had to take durability into account when making these things.
 

Hagrid

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I just ordered mine and am waiting for them to be in stock and ship..........
 

Bigc208

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Picked mine up from the UPS store yesterday. Played with them for a couple of hours and they're a blast. Dead and burried is a hoot. Even my, non computer game playing, motion sickness prone wife, took to the touch controllers and VR in a few minutes. Setting up the system and boundaries went fast. Have about a 6x6 area that's getting good coverage from the two sensors.
 
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Quick question: has anyone else had slight wobbling issues where the position of a Touch controller, or - worse - the HMD position, and thus your view - kinda shifts a few inches for a bit?

It doesn't usually happen, except for when I'm holding a Touch controller in front of the Rift HMD itself, as if the camera gets confused which Constellation of LEDs belongs to the HMD and which belongs to the hand controller. There should be wireless synchronization to mitigate this, but it doesn't seem to be perfect.

Normally, you don't hold controllers in front of your face like that, but working in Medium and Quill tends to do that a lot as you lean into where you're working with your tools.

This might be correctable with tweaked camera placement, but that's out of the cards for now, at least until I get some camera wall mounts and USB 3.0 extension cables. I want to test the opposing-corner setup with the two cameras I've got and see how well that works for tracking in this room before plunking down for a third camera.
 

Rvenger

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Mine should be here monday. Can't open till Christmas... The wife wins this time :p
 
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Oculus are bundling extensions (Monoprice powered 5m USB extensions) with extra Constellation cameras.
Salvaged does look like a pretty cool game, but it's not a Monoprice active 5m USB cable by a long shot!

Gotta love it when your clipboard doesn't update like it's supposed to, huh?

With that said, my only concern there is that Oculus apparently went for a USB 2.0 extension cable, not a USB 3.0 one. I have a couple of 2.0 extension cables already, but I'm aiming for full bandwidth here.
 

bobzdar

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Salvaged does look like a pretty cool game, but it's not a Monoprice active 5m USB cable by a long shot!

Gotta love it when your clipboard doesn't update like it's supposed to, huh?

With that said, my only concern there is that Oculus apparently went for a USB 2.0 extension cable, not a USB 3.0 one. I have a couple of 2.0 extension cables already, but I'm aiming for full bandwidth here.

I think this is one of those deals where it either works or it doesn't. You won't get any improved experience with 3.0 vs. 2.0 on the camera as long as it doesn't error out.
 

EdZ

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Salvaged does look like a pretty cool game, but it's not a Monoprice active 5m USB cable by a long shot!

Gotta love it when your clipboard doesn't update like it's supposed to, huh?

With that said, my only concern there is that Oculus apparently went for a USB 2.0 extension cable, not a USB 3.0 one. I have a couple of 2.0 extension cables already, but I'm aiming for full bandwidth here.
Whoops, fixed.
Accodring to Cyberreality (one of the Oculus support guys hired out of MTBS) the issue with running extra cameras via USB3 is that more than two cameras on the same root hub results in issues, either due to bandwidth or (more likely) due to them fighting for priority for minimum transmission times. If you have an extra root hub you can stick the extra cameras on then you can go for USB 3 without issue, but otherwise dropping down the 3rd/4th camera to USB 2 speeds alleviates the issue without tracking degradation.
Oculus have not specified what gets impacted by the bandwidth reduction. My guess would be bit-depth would have the lowest impact, but they could be dropping the capture resolution or the framerate, or doing some on-board compression at a lower bit-rate (image should already be pretty compressible, it's mostly a black frame with grey blobs in).
 
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I think this is one of those deals where it either works or it doesn't. You won't get any improved experience with 3.0 vs. 2.0 on the camera as long as it doesn't error out.
I went and tried one of my existing USB 2.0 extension cables for the heck of it so I could move it to the other corner of the room, and you're right - I don't immediately notice any tracking degradation as a result of the camera dropping to USB 2.0. The camera in the front corner was still connected directly via USB 3.0.

However, I still notice imperfections in the tracking in general using just two cameras. FOV-wise, they cover the whole 12'x12' room pretty nicely, but even when occlusion shouldn't be much of an issue, I've noticed the controllers blinking red when holding them like I would a rifle and facing just one camera, or even waving them out with no obstructions closer to the edges of either camera's FOV (particularly the corners without cameras). The tracking ring on the Touch controllers probably isn't visible enough from all angles to ensure the cameras can get a solid read on them.

I get the feeling that even a third sensor is going to lead to tracking errors in the corner without a sensor, so the sensible thing to do would be to just go whole hog with four sensors, one in every corner. Yes, it's even more expensive, but EdZ said it best over here: "My experience with Every Optical Tracking System Ever Produced is: the optimum number of tracking cameras/basestations is whatever the system max is, or whatever you can afford, whichever is higher. Constellation, Lighthouse, Vicon, Optitrack, Phasespace, whatever." All of these systems need line-of-sight, whether outside-in (Constellation) or inside-out (Lighthouse), so the only way to really defeat occlusion is to ensure line-of-sight to at least one sensor no matter what angle you're holding them in related to each other and/or your body.
https://hardforum.com/threads/rift-now-that-controllers-are-out-or-vive.1918078/#post-1042696853

Accodring to Cyberreality (one of the Oculus support guys hired out of MTBS) the issue with running extra cameras via USB3 is that more than two cameras on the same root hub results in issues, either due to bandwidth or (more likely) due to them fighting for priority for minimum transmission times. If you have an extra root hub you can stick the extra cameras on then you can go for USB 3 without issue, but otherwise dropping down the 3rd/4th camera to USB 2 speeds alleviates the issue without tracking degradation.
Oculus have not specified what gets impacted by the bandwidth reduction. My guess would be bit-depth would have the lowest impact, but they could be dropping the capture resolution or the framerate, or doing some on-board compression at a lower bit-rate (image should already be pretty compressible, it's mostly a black frame with grey blobs in).
I'm guessing the Z87 chipset on my mobo only provides one xHCI root hub, going by the Device Manager. Additional root hubs would require PCIe expansion cards.

Then again, like I said earlier, it doesn't really feel like the rear camera's being crippled by having to run at USB 2.0 rates. The greater issue seems to be just giving the cameras enough of a look at the Oculus Touch tracking rings to keep track of them reliably, and the only solution to that is more cameras.
 

bobzdar

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I went and tried one of my existing USB 2.0 extension cables for the heck of it so I could move it to the other corner of the room, and you're right - I don't immediately notice any tracking degradation as a result of the camera dropping to USB 2.0. The camera in the front corner was still connected directly via USB 3.0.

However, I still notice imperfections in the tracking in general using just two cameras. FOV-wise, they cover the whole 12'x12' room pretty nicely, but even when occlusion shouldn't be much of an issue, I've noticed the controllers blinking red when holding them like I would a rifle and facing just one camera, or even waving them out with no obstructions closer to the edges of either camera's FOV (particularly the corners without cameras). The tracking ring on the Touch controllers probably isn't visible enough from all angles to ensure the cameras can get a solid read on them.

I get the feeling that even a third sensor is going to lead to tracking errors in the corner without a sensor, so the sensible thing to do would be to just go whole hog with four sensors, one in every corner. Yes, it's even more expensive, but EdZ said it best over here: "My experience with Every Optical Tracking System Ever Produced is: the optimum number of tracking cameras/basestations is whatever the system max is, or whatever you can afford, whichever is higher. Constellation, Lighthouse, Vicon, Optitrack, Phasespace, whatever." All of these systems need line-of-sight, whether outside-in (Constellation) or inside-out (Lighthouse), so the only way to really defeat occlusion is to ensure line-of-sight to at least one sensor no matter what angle you're holding them in related to each other and/or your body.
https://hardforum.com/threads/rift-now-that-controllers-are-out-or-vive.1918078/#post-1042696853


I'm guessing the Z87 chipset on my mobo only provides one xHCI root hub, going by the Device Manager. Additional root hubs would require PCIe expansion cards.

Then again, like I said earlier, it doesn't really feel like the rear camera's being crippled by having to run at USB 2.0 rates. The greater issue seems to be just giving the cameras enough of a look at the Oculus Touch tracking rings to keep track of them reliably, and the only solution to that is more cameras.

If you're going 360 degree in a 12x12 room with 2 cameras, your area is simply too large. According to the room scale documentation max 2 cameras can track room scale is when separated by 10',which is a roughly 7'x7'.
 
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If you're going 360 degree in a 12x12 room with 2 cameras, your area is simply too large. According to the room scale documentation max 2 cameras can track room scale is when separated by 10',which is a roughly 7'x7'.
7x7 feet is about the effective limit I have in this space anyway; computer desks lined around the whole room ensure that I can't go wall-to-wall in here. Said desks also tend to present occlusion problems of their own when reaching toward the floor, so I'm itching for a ceiling-mount setup that can get a better view of the floor level.

Still, some have said that Oculus' figures for 360-degree and room-scale support are rather conservative, so I put that to the test. I suppose it works, but not reliably enough for my liking.

In the meantime, I did some more reading over on the Oculus forums. Word is that they've got some issues handing off between sensors, leading to jumps in tracking. I'll see if that continues to be the case if I bring them a few feet closer.

UPDATE: I moved my cameras closer together, and now the tracking is indeed more reliable between them, albeit still not perfect.

Guess I'll still need to buy some additional sensor cameras to get this working as flawlessly as I want it to.
 
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Hagrid

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7x7 feet is about the effective limit I have in this space anyway; computer desks lined around the whole room ensure that I can't go wall-to-wall in here. Said desks also tend to present occlusion problems of their own when reaching toward the floor, so I'm itching for a ceiling-mount setup that can get a better view of the floor level.

Still, some have said that Oculus' figures for 360-degree and room-scale support are rather conservative, so I put that to the test. I suppose it works, but not reliably enough for my liking.

In the meantime, I did some more reading over on the Oculus forums. Word is that they've got some issues handing off between sensors, leading to jumps in tracking. I'll see if that continues to be the case if I bring them a few feet closer.

UPDATE: I moved my cameras closer together, and now the tracking is indeed more reliable between them, albeit still not perfect.

Guess I'll still need to buy some additional sensor cameras to get this working as flawlessly as I want it to.
How high do you have the cameras? I want to mount my 2 on the wall.
 

Nenu

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I am running 2 cameras 2.5m apart on top of loudspeakers, covering an area of almost exactly 2m x 2m, left edge in line with the left sensor.
The right camera is .5m outside the right boundary because thats the only place I can put it.
The left camera is toed in 20 degrees, the right one 30 degrees approx.
I had to push the cameras a bit further away to avoid tracking issues up close but apart from that it works very well.
It tracks the 2m furthest distance perfectly.

I advise running through the complete camera setup procedure even though its a pita.
Then glue the cameras in place so your wife, kids, pets, ghosts cant move them! :p
(just kidding, but try not to ever let them be moved or you may have to start again)

ps I'm also using an old USB 2.0 extension on the left camera. Works fine.

pps "any" lights on in the room will reduce the effectiveness of the cameras.
 

Hagrid

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I am running 2 cameras 2.5m apart on top of loudspeakers, covering an area of almost exactly 2m x 2m, left edge in line with the left sensor.
The right camera is .5m outside the right boundary because thats the only place I can put it.
The left camera is toed in 20 degrees, the right one 30 degrees approx.
I had to push the cameras a bit further away to avoid tracking issues up close but apart from that it works very well.
It tracks the 2m furthest distance perfectly.

I advise running through the complete camera setup procedure even though its a pita.
Then glue the cameras in place so your wife, kids, pets, ghosts cant move them! :p
(just kidding, but try not to ever let them be moved or you may have to start again)

ps I'm also using an old USB 2.0 extension on the left camera. Works fine.

pps "any" lights on in the room will reduce the effectiveness of the cameras.
Is there any links for this? I have remote lights so I could turn them off and on easily.
This is about the same for my covering area as well. Thanks!
 

Nenu

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Is there any links for this? I have remote lights so I could turn them off and on easily.
This is about the same for my covering area as well. Thanks!
That is my experience.
What would you like a link for?

If you need to see in a dark room, put a shaded lamp on the same wall as the sensors, preferably not between them and not too high power.
I can use my projector and the Rift ok because the projector is high up, doesnt shine at the cameras and the light from the screen cannot be seen by the cameras directly.
The screen is behind the cameras.
 

Hagrid

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That is my experience.
What would you like a link for?

If you need to see in a dark room, put a shaded lamp on the same wall as the sensors, preferably not between them and not too high power.
I can use my projector and the Rift ok because the projector is high up, doesnt shine at the cameras and the light from the screen cannot be seen by the cameras directly.
The screen is behind the cameras.
I was just wondering if there was a for sure site that did testing. Once I get everything setup I can always try it with the second camera.(better be here wednesday!)
 

Nenu

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I was just wondering if there was a for sure site that did testing. Once I get everything setup I can always try it with the second camera.(better be here wednesday!)
Naaa. Well maybe, havent checked.
I was struggling with jerky response so turned the lights off and it was fixed.
They werent very high power either but had line of sight.
Then realised my pj doesnt cause a problem.
 
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How high do you have the cameras? I want to mount my 2 on the wall.
Good question; I loosely estimate their current placement as 5' for one camera, 5'8" for the other.

The room itself is about 7' tall, maybe a little more. I should probably break out the measuring tape to be sure. The only reason I don't have 'em mounted at nearly ceiling height is due to both a lack of extensions and a lack of camera mounts for the sensors.

It turns out that USB 2.0 may not be good enough after all, though; I just stumbled across this set of videos. Welp, time to pay up for one of those USB 3.0 active extensions along with that third sensor, I guess.


 

EdZ

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