A brief guide to VR motion tracking technologyMotion Tracking, the process of digitising your movements for use in computer software, is a key component of VR systems. Without VR motion tracking systems, you would find yourself restricted in the virtual world, unable to look around, move, and explore. Being able to engage and interact with the virtual world the moment you step into a VR CAVE or put on your VR headset – without being reminded of the real world – is crucial to the creation of a truly immersive experience.
How does Motion Tracking work?To understand how an object is able to move in three-dimensional space, we need to look at the concept of six degrees of freedom (6DoF), which refers to the freedom of movement of a rigid body in 3D space. Essentially, the body is free to move forwards or backwards, up or down, and left to right - the three perpendicular axes, or 3DoF.
This is then combined with rotation around these axes – or 6DoF. The virtual world must mimic the movements that we do in the real world, like using our hands, moving our heads, and moving around a room, but the degrees of immersion varies depending on the application: For some applications, like digital prototyping for the automotive industry, VR motion tracking is necessary and will either make or break your state of immersion.
In some other cases, a Virtual Reality or Simulation experience might need a more fixed approached, e.g. a flight simulator where the person is sat in a cockpit using a joystick. There are already different software and technologies to make the most of exploring a virtual environment, let’s look at the main two types of VR motion trackers and at how they work.