Tech Talk #11 : VR Positional Tracking

Dear all,

We discussed about the gaming studio last week. Everyone has spoken their opinions on the present studio and their future expectations!

Thank you so much for recommending some indie studios, hopefully we are able to have further collaboration with them.

Today we are discussing about the positional tracking which is a common feature in the VR environments.

tach talk11

Each tracking technique do have their pros and cons, but which do you think is better suited for virtual reality?
The wireless tracking?
Full body tracking such as VR Haptics suit?
Lighthouses from HTC or Valve?

Is the wireless module adequate for basic tracking?
Do you prefer typical lighthouse positioning tracking?


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Not sure what was meant by “Is the wireless module adequate for basic tracking?”

I have Lighthouses with Pimax and have a G2 with inside-out tracking.

The inside-out tracking of the G2 was fine in the cone that it could see.

Honestly it comes down to weight and cost for me.
The weight of the Pimax is high enough.

I do hope the lighthouse “mask” for the front of the 12K/Crystal is very lightweight.
Are the inside-out trackers of the REALITY series at all heavy?

Certainly a big barrier to entry for most is the additional costs of lighthouses (not to mention their availability).

Could inside-out tracking be used with Index “knuckles” controllers for example?


Lighthouse for me. :slight_smile:

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Yep Lighthouse for me. Bullet proof.

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So far, the only real options have been Quest 2 style inside out tracking and lighthouse tracking. There have been some other types, but nothing that has caught on.

I consider inside out tracking such as found in the Quest 2 to be generally inadequate. The tracking of the VR headset itself is good. But the tracking of the hand controllers is poor. It works well enough for common use cases where you you are working with your hands in front of you, but circumstances come up where you need to move your hands outside of the tracking zone with considerable frequency, especially when using social VR platforms like VRChat. Even just having your hands down at your sides in a natural resting position puts them outside of what the tracking cameras in the headset can see, and so you learn to always have T’rex arms in VRChat.

Inside out tracking falls short even worse when you consider full body tracking. It essentially can not provide this capability, and other tracking methods have to be used instead. If inside out tracking is used in combination with FBT using some other tracking method (usually basestations), the problem of the limited area that the hand controllers can be tracked becomes worse because you can be in any arbitrary position and don’t have to be just standing with your arms in front of you. In addition, mapping two different tracking methods together is hacky and subject to imprecision in calibration and especially calibration of the two tracking systems drifting away from each other over time.

Lighthouse tracking remains the best tracking method available today, especially if you’re doing full body tracking. Its primary downside is having to purchase and mount basestations. But this is something you only have to do once, and then you have high quality tracking indefinitely.

Lighthouse tracking does come up short for mobile VR gaming. A lighthouse setup isn’t mobile. But I have to wonder what percentage of the customer base actually needs the mobility. There certainly are cases where this capability is crucial, but I suspect that most customers rarely if ever use VR outside of their usual playspace setup in their home.

Regarding the 12K and Crystal coming with inside out tracking, I view this as largely useless. It’s a significant downgrade from the lighthouse based tracking I have with the 8KX. I intend to purchase a 12K with the lighthouse tracking module, and I will likely never use the inside out tracking it comes with. “Quest 2” tracking on a $2400 VR headset seems like putting the cheapest skinny all season tires you can find on a Porsche.

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From my experience using Oculus Rift CV1 Touch Sensors for tracking has been great but, they have never been supported by anything else and Oculus ditched them and never did anything else with them. Yet they lasted (functioning) longer then my Lighthouse 1.0 which only lasted maybe 3 months at the most. Any future headset released should really try incorporating Quest Tracking (Inside-Out Tracking) and Rift CV1 tracking (Outside-In? Tracking.


The future is inside out tracking. Where the controllers have their own cameras to track themselves so limited tracking zones, etc would no longer be an issue. At that point you’d have a tracking method which is superior to lighthouse tracking because it would be able to produce similar accuracy while being much harder to occlude.

You could also use the same technology for FBT. Each of the tracking pucks would have their own cameras, too.

The 12K and Crystal aren’t being released with this kind of advanced inside out tracking. But… Pimax could potentially release controllers later which were so equipped. And then combined with the existing inside out tracking module in the headsets, they’d have a tracking solution where I would actually decommission my four basestations.


Combination of multiple supported techniques. Controller emitters/sensors, at least not including controllers getting cameras themselves, are cheap.

Inevitably, some Arduino open-source compatible position tracking receiver will become available, with emitters for Oculus Constellation style tracking as well as headset camera tracking, and also sensors for Lighthouse, laser speckle, and multi-axis magnetic sensing, all fused to use the best tracking available at any time to workaround any occlusion. Price will be under $40/controller, with a PCB layout and BOM PCBWay can deliver fully assembled any week.

What VR needs is a larger open-source interoperable technology base.


Maybe worth a look


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