Open IR Tracking Module

Low Cost, Fast response time between IR camera and a microprocessor. This provides rapid real-time tracking capability.

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I put together some material on hacking a Wii IR camera to a servo. From this I am able to get very responsive tracking which you can see in the attached youtube video.

This has lots of cool applications in control as Wii remotes are cheap and the camera is pretty easy to interface with. I have detailed the connection process here. The Wii IR camera is really great to work with as it outputs the locations of the 4 brightest IR spots it sees with a rough brightness value. This makes it very useful!

I have gotten some feedback of people having trouble getting it to work. I am going to work towards creating an open module that allows a Wii IR camera module to be inserted into it and directly connected to a microprocessor.

Real time tracking makes human interaction robots far easy to produce. I am hoping that this module will allow others to creating interesting new projects.

Here is the overall module design:

Additionally, a simpler sub-module could be produced allowing you to connect it to a microprocessor.

I am looking to extend this project of mine and create a simple open source module where the camera can be plugged in and connected without the hassle. Hopefully this will prove easier to use and more useful for most hackers out there. My main goal is to create a small module with an LCD and control panel that interfaces with 2 servos making a nice system for camera tracking. This would be an interesting add-on to GoPro cameras and robotic systems.

  • 1 × Wii IR camera removed from Wii Remote
  • 1 × LTC4301L i2C bus voltage converter
  • 1 × 74AC04 Electronic Components / Misc. Electronic Components
  • 1 × diodes, caps, resistors (see schematic)
  • 1 × Arduino Uno

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  • Complete Module Ideas

    Eric Jacob08/20/2014 at 17:00 0 comments

    My initial thought was to simply include the electronics required to attach the Wii to an arduino or other microcontroller. This has been evolving in my mind to include a version that outputs directly to two servos. This would make the module very useful for canned applications like camera/sensor tracking. 

    It will not be difficult to produce this additional module pre-loaded with the required code. Some inputs such as PID values and sensitivities will need to be included. Either a USB or LCD interface would be required. This is all very do-able and would be really useful particularly for art or video production projects. 

    One immediate thought is that it would be useful for projects like this: 

    The skydiver would simply need to have a IR LED to allow for tracking, although the sun might be an issue at times. There may be ways around this as the Wii IR camera outputs the 4 brightest points. The sun may be disproportionally brighter and able to be ignored.

  • Old Circuit

    Eric Jacob08/20/2014 at 16:45 0 comments

    As a reference I've added an old circuit diagram where I was working out how the single sided board will be laid out. I have since graduated to using Eagle and will need to transition the schematics.

  • Applications: Sun Based Rocket Guidance

    Eric Jacob08/20/2014 at 16:43 0 comments

    I used to do a fair amount of hobby rocketry. I've since moved on to building my own rocket engines and publishing on rocket engine design. I was always interested in more advanced methods. One report that got my attention was this: 

    It is available here: This report uses an arrangement of photocells in a control system to guide the servos. 

    The Wii camera can track the sun as well. We can use this to accomplish the same task, but in a slick new way (of course, the old way is really nice and elegant which is awesome too). 

    This is where my Wii Rocket has come from. It has yet to fly, but it is close. Don't worry, this can't be used for anything nefarious. The Wii camera is not heat-seeking. That is very low frequency (long-wave) IR. The Wii camera views near-red infrared (short-wave). Infrared covers a very large frequency range so it is important to clarify what type of IR you are talking about. The sun works for tracking because is it blasting out a whole range of light.

    I will add updates as this continues.

  • The Code

    Eric Jacob08/20/2014 at 16:27 0 comments

    There are some very kind nice people out there that make you love the internet. Most of the software had been figured out prior to me building this. I initially made a tutorial hoping to put together all the resources into one place. I have all the details (and all the links should still be good) in the instructions.

  • Two Servo Setup

    Eric Jacob08/20/2014 at 16:19 0 comments

    I've expanded upon the existing setup to add 2 servos. The takes data from the Wii IR camera (short wave IR, like that in IR LED's, not body warmth which is long-wave). This can be used for a camera tracking system. A simple IR LED can be added to a target and the camera will follow the target. Very little computing power is needed.

  • Instructions Complete

    Eric Jacob08/16/2014 at 17:01 0 comments

    I have added the instructions on how to interface the Wii Camera to an arduino. As you can see in the videos, there is a really rapid response time. Perfect for robotics tracking.

    I have had some feedback from individuals that had a hard time getting this to work. I am now looking (inspired by the contest) to develop this into an open source module that will be more plug and play.

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Felix Rusu wrote 03/09/2015 at 14:20 point

This is pretty nice stuff. Do you think this could be used for surveillance video to track a body of heat in the dark?

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PointyOintment wrote 05/13/2015 at 14:40 point

Unlikely: Near IR vs. Far IR. Look into FLIR Lepton and FLIR ONE though.

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ArsenioDev wrote 10/11/2014 at 21:42 point
Do you have a link to where I could buy the Sun Seeking rocket PDF?

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