It was time to build a tracked motion controller, and it started with my concept of Caliper, a mechanical measuring device.
Before getting deep into the design, I wanted to explore different options; it’s important to use practical modelling to quickly work through different ideas.
Many contemporary VR motion controllers could be simply described as “Banana with half-apple” in terms of form factor.
After having a look at the current form factor, I wondered if there was there a better solution?
Why not try something different as well, perhaps a gun grip?
Building some working models would familiarise myself with controller development, before moving onto Caliper itself…
Mule #1 – “Inputs”
This was built to examine the real estate available for control inputs, and the range of adjustment that could be desirable between the grip and joystick
SteamVR™ tracking was quickly chosen because of its performance and open access at low entry cost; Tundra Labs offering a general purpose hardware development kit (HDK) ideal for building prototype equipment.
Mule #2 – “T-Bar”
This was quickly built to understand the physicality of working with the HDK specifically the sensor placement and flex management.
Locating the sensor “centroid” accurately on a stable adhesive pad was challenging; I used a number of commercial products trying to find the best solution.
Built with a single trigger to allow a simple input, I soon realized the complexity of working out my sensor locations, and moved onto a simpler idea.
Mule #3 – “Guncube”
After stripping down the second mule I found a suitable cardboard box to build a simple tracked object. Skarredghost suggested the name Guncube which sounded ideal.
This time I built a crude model in OpenSCAD and used valve’s SteamVR HDK tools for the first time to analyse sensor placement and understand the process in detail.