Convert your now useless Vive controllers to feet trackers to use with Valve Knuckles

Hopefully Valve will allow this as a option in SteamVR but if they don’t there is a relatively easy way to add feet (or other limb tracking) to SteamVR without needing to buy trackers (you will however need a SteamVR dongle, or reflashed Steam controller dongle).

Thanks to ragesaq for his guide on turning a tracker into a controller here which this guide is based on.

Step 1: Turn off SteamVR, disconnect your headset or other SteamVR devices so the lighthouse configuration management tool only sees the device in question.

Step 2: Launch steamVR, turn your controller back on and plug it into your computer with a USB cable.

Step 3: Run the lighthouse_console.exe application that is found in C:\Program Files(x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\SteamVR\tools\ lighthouse\bin\win64\

you should see the controller serial number listed in the console.

Step 4: type in “downloadconfig”, this will create a json file in the lighthouse_console.exe folder that contains the config of that specific controller. Back it up before proceeding, save it as LHR-XXXXXX.json.original or something like that.

Step 5: Edit the json file and change the line

“device_class”: “controller”,

to

“device_class”: “generic-tracker”,

Now, near the bottom change

"model_number": "Vive. Controller MV",
"render_model": "vr_controller_vive_1_5",
"revision": 1,

to

"model_name": "Vive Tracker PVT",
"render_model": "vr_tracker_vive_1_0",
"revision": 1,
"tracked_controller_role": "",

Then save the file.

Step 6: Upload the file back to the controller type in “uploadconfig LHR-XXXXXX.json” where XXXXXX is the serial number of the controller that is listed in the file name.

Step 7: Type in “poweroff” and then unplug the controller and power it off.

Step 8: Type in “exit” in the lighthouse_console.exe to exit out of the application and restart SteamVR. Make sure you do this even though you may still need to reflash another controller.

Your controller will now show up as a tracker in SteamVR and you can assign it as a role in the ‘manage tracker’ section of the SteamVR menu. It will also vibrate when you click ‘identify tracker’, which is nice.

Trackers are lighter and better for feet tracking but since lots of vive controllers will be put in the drawer once the Valve Index Controllers start shipping they could find a second life in feet tracking for more immersion. A few elastic bands around the controller and your shoe is enough to hold it quite securely.

Steam controller dongles are available on ebay for around Ā£12, or directly from Valve.

Note

depending on the game you may need to use OpenVR Input Emulator to reorient the controller, like so.

This could be the summer of broken Quests…. but it doesn’t have to be!

I predict there will be plenty of people taking new Quests to the park or beach to show their friends, but while you can be careful it’s still very easy to destroy your Quest, and much more likely for friends who don’t even realize the danger to ruin your new toy.

This comes from the fact that if you point the lenses at the sun it focuses onto the display and will instantly burn out the focal point, ie the OLED displays.

Sun damaged vive screen

BUT, Oculus could add at least a toggleable audible warning to each headset to hopefully prevent some of this potential damage from happening. If it knows your approximate location on earth, which it can easily get from an IP address, and also knows the time and date, it can calculate the position of the sun at any given time. It also knows the rotation of the HMD, so it would be fairly easy to add a warning noise if the Quest is not on someones face and is about to be rotated to burn out its displays.

It’s not a perfect solution, but I would rather have something than nothing since it’s so easy to forget this is a danger.

Shortcut to Boston

Currently in Boston in the US since I finally caught an invitation to the Hardware Workshop run by Bolt.vc. Was a great 2 day conference which taught me a lot… They had some great talks, some of which I knew, some of which I had a good idea about and some of which I didn’t know I needed to know and now have a score more things to think about. Hardware just got harder, but I also met a lot of cool people who are doing projects just like us and a few that launched and came through the other side. So it can be done, but I’m under less illusions that it would be easy. The first two hours on the last day were a barrage of stories about how hard it is to do lots of important tasks… almost as if they’re trying to persuade us to give up! šŸ™‚

I decided to take few days to hang out but the work never stops so I’ve been planning and thinking about the kind of things that you don’t always get time to consider when you’re elbows deep in hardware and software… but now I’m eager to get back. I have a 1.5m x 1.5m CNC router that is 99% finished in our workspace to get fully running and a to-do list that doesn’t seem to be getting any smaller.

The project was recently accepted onto a hardware accelerator, but after much deliberation we decided to pass. The money would have been nice, but not critical, but the issue was more to do with timing… and shipping prototypes to another country, especially when they’re so huge, isn’t perhaps the best use of a new injection of cash. Asia isn’t going anywhere.

I also had the chance to take a tour of the artisans asylum, which is just amazing. Where we are right now is pretty good but this is on another level… please open one in London someone!

Both the rift and Vive pre-orders remain in limbo, despite 15 minute (hey, the card wouldn’t go through šŸ™ ) and 3 minute timestamps respectively. Currently considering even reaching out to Palmer personally since the craziness of launch week has died down a little but I suppose they’ll come when they come… although perhaps a private youtube demo link might go a long way in persuading him. Hardware is really hard when you can’t get the other hardware to make your own hardware šŸ™

Project status….

Yes, it’s still going. Not always as quickly or efficiently as you might like but far from dead… very, very far from dead šŸ™‚

Sometimes a lack of status updates makes people think the worst….

and sometimes lack of status updates mean great things are happening but your intellectual property lawyer tells you to stop posting every little thing you’re doing…

Great things are happening… šŸ™‚

If you’re in London and want to be a beta tester (under NDA) there is a link under the ‘Contact’ tab…

My OctoPi settings

Well, it’s more for my octopi + ps3 camera settings, since it’s so easy to corrupt your install and then spend another day figuring out how to get the blasted camera working again….

But feel free to use it yourself

sudo nano /etc/rc.local

and paste in :
cd /home/pi/mjpg* && sudo killall mjpg_streamer && ./mjpg_streamer -i "./input_uvc.so -y -f 20 -r 640x480 -y" -o "./output_http.so -w ./www"

enjoy :)