Mirrorshades project – Oculus Rift, 2x PlayStation Eye cameras, Unity

Continuing my cross reality research, I’m working on an Oculus Rift project to allow you to switch/fade between your real surroundings & virtual surroundings. I’m using 2x PlayStation Eye webcams (cheap, 60fps, easy to fit with standard M12 lens mounts so you can use all sorts of different lenses – I’m using 2.5mm lenses atm) attached to the Rift via a 3D printed mount & with Unity on the software end using code from this chap (Japanese link) because Unity’s WebCamTexture doesn’t work with 2x identical cameras.

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The mount comprises the clip designed by the guys at USC Information Technology Services (& freely downloadable from their website) with a second piece I designed & glued onto the front with epoxy. I found an EAGLE board file for the webcams so was able to design this second piece with channels matching the PCB mounting holes, allowing the webcams to be moved horizontally to experiment with different interpupillary distances (or even to completely remove one camera & simply position the remaining one in the centre).

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One of the cameras has to be upside down because the width of the top of the PCBs (where the mic array is) means that they can’t be placed close enough together when they are both the same way up! The image from the upside-down camera is just rotated in software.

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Sony PVM-9044QM Servicing

Something a little different, but in the current age of ‘disposable’ consumer electronics that are glued together it was a pleasant surprise to see how nicely designed this Sony broadcast/field monitor was for regular & easy servicing. Not sure if it’s actually savable or whether the phosphors are just past it, but I have to read more of the service manual before I begin twiddling any of the 50+ (!) adjustment potentiometers…

Disclaimer: prodding the wrong part of a CRT can be fatal, even after it has been disconnected from the mains.

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Once you lift the case off the sides just hinge down to expose the potentiometers, with all the wires still attached so you can make adjustments whilst the unit is running.

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Just an idea of how many adjustments there are, this PCB alone has over 30 potentiometers…

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Once you’re done tinkering the PCBs just hinge back up!

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Lights at the Halloween Bop

These are from way back around Halloween, I went to crew the Halloween Bop in Venue 1 & thought I’d try & get some nice light trails from the moving lights.

These were all shot with the kit lens, hand-held with ~2 second exposures so I’m quite surprised any of them came out at all.

Definitely going to take a tripod one day & attempt this properly, maybe leave the body on interval shooting or something.

The venue doesn’t always have the scary face hanging down the back, it was just a Halloween thing.

All of these lights are controlled from the Pearl 2000 you saw in yesterday’s post.

I wanted to try & catch some of the beams in the air with the haze, but because the kit lens is quite slow (3.5-5.6) I had to crank the sensitivity up to 3200. Haven’t tried putting them through Noise Ninja yet, need to find a way to integrate it into Lightroom because opening the image in Photoshop just to use Noise Ninja is a bit long-winded.

U2 Rattle and Hum anybody?

New Kit~

I never did a post when I got my new dSLR, but today I took delivery of a new lens so I figured it was worth showing you what I shoot with. This here is my Pentax K20D with the Pentax D-BG2 & my brand new Sigma 28mm F1.8 EX DG Aspherical Macro (quite a mouthful I know). I wanted a ‘standard’ fast prime like the 50mm f1.7 is on 35mm bodies, but on the K20d with its APS-C sensor the crop/zoom turns it into a 75mm equivalent, which is too long for a standard walkaround lens. The 28mm works out as 43mm, which is just about perfect :)

Don’t really have any time to test it out though, because it’s slap bang in the middle of revision/exam season here. But after exams I’ve got a full 20(!) days before semester 2 teaching starts, so hopefully there will be lots of time to play. From what little I’ve used it, it seems to focus perfectly without the reported front/back focus issues that have supposedly plagued the newer HSM Sigmas (this older model uses the screw focus) & the minimum focussing distance of 20cm is rubbish – the thing focusses so close you can almost have the hood touching the subject!