6D Optical Tracker from 3rdTech Opens
HILL, N.C., July 25, 2000
– 3rdTech Inc., developing products and businesses from university research,
today announced the HiBall-3000 Wide Area Tracker, a new optical tracker that
achieves unmatched levels of accuracy, performance and scalability. Based on
technology first developed by the Department of Computer Science of the
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the HiBall-3000 is an ideal tracker
for virtual and augmented reality, simulation and training, film and video
production, and location-based entertainment.
HiBall tracker is a six-degrees-of-freedom (6DOF) device.
It uses a custom sensor composed of six lenses and photodiodes arranged
to view arrays of infrared LEDs that mount easily on the supports of standard
“drop ceilings.” The LED arrays
can cover areas as small as 8x8 feet or greater than 40x40 feet.
This enables tracking for wide-area simulation and training, or for an
entire laboratory or film set. Because it is an optical sensor, the precision
and performance of the HiBall-3000 are not affected by metal, magnetic fields or
noise. Most line-of-sight
obstructions are overcome by the tracker’s multiple photodiodes.
HiBall-3000 Sensor is lightweight and about the size of a billiard ball.
It provides up to 2,000 position and orientation updates per second. The
resulting very low latency virtually eliminates the “swimming” associated
with other tracker technologies. The
HiBall Tracker supplies the greatest absolute precision – for both location
and orientation – of any wide-area tracker.
This level of precision is uniform over the entire tracked region, even
near the boundaries of very large areas.
ceiling tracker developed at UNC has been the highest-performance tracker
technology for several years, but it’s only been available for use in that one
UNC lab,” says Nick England, president and CEO of 3rdTech. “We’ve turned
the technology into a product without giving up any of its features or
HiBall-3000 Wide Area Tracker will be available in the third quarter of this
year. List price for a complete system starts at less than $25,000.