Annoyed. For the longest time, I wanted to legitimately smash my Touch Controllers because whenever I’d play a game, my virtual hands would randomly move to my waist on either side for a split second and the controller buttons would not work during that time. It would happen randomly, and frequently, and no matter how many more lighting fixtures I added, nothing changed.
Fair. Then, I collected myself and started asking logical questions. “Hey Starcloak, why is it doing this?” So I started looking at how the tracking systems actually work.
Analytical. The tracking sensors have little IR emitters in them. This I sort of knew, since I was born with extra cones and rods and can sometimes see into the infrared spectrum. (Night time driving is especially easy for me since IR light bends around objects, so what’s dark for most people is almost a hazy red for me. I can also see the infrared light emitted by nightvision goggles).
Regardless. Either way, I started thinking about how room lighting could actually be effecting the tracking.
Analytical. All households run on AC Current, aka alternating current. The electricity turns on and off at a certain Hert (times per second). For the U.S. and most other places, it’s 60 Hz, for the UK, it’s 50 Hz. In fact there is a setting on your Oculus App specifically for changing your tracking frequency between 50 Hz and 60 Hz for this very reason.
Fair. VR is still in it’s infancy (or adolescence), no new news there, so this is just one hiccup in the road. But, I have an explanation and a fairly easy solution.
Historical. Until recently, most homes were powered by incandescent and/or Florescent bulbs. These bulbs (for the most part), all flicker with the on-off cycles of AC current, with incandescents only dimmed about 15% during an “off” cycle due to their principle of operation being a filament “burning” in a low-oxygen environment. Fluorescents dimmed even more-so, on account of them being more electronically-controlled. (Band-Theory 101).
Summary. Let’s face it though, when LED bulbs came out, everybody switched. They’re more efficient, and a lot brighter, so everybody has them. But here’s the catch. They’re at a x2 mains frequency, and their light is based on electron flow instead of heat (like an incandescent), so their on/off dimming is closer to 100%, so you’re looking at a bulb that turns on/off, 100%, at 120 Hz. Aka, you’re giving your Oculus Rift S a seizure. Lol
Annoyed. So this is a problem that’s inherent with modern electrical principles. Great, so what’s the solution.
Fair. Given the problem, I actually have several possible solutions for you to try:
- Using your smartphone camera, take a slow-motion video of all the lights in the room with your VR Setup. Reviewing the video, turn off all the lights that flicker in the playback
- Open the Shades during the daytime, everybody needs more vitamin D anyway
- Set up a battery-powered camping lantern or something that emits light with a DC (direct-current) system
- Build small DC-Current lights with LEDs, resistors and a USB cable that you can plug into your computer and run off of your spare USB 2.0 Ports, it’s super simple and looks pretty badass.
Simplified. Sunlight and Direct-Current lighting is the solution that works best for this problem so far. If this doesn’t help, the next step would be to check your hardware.
Salutations. Hope this helps! So long and see you Starside! *Salute!*