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 Post subject: Modding PS3 cams for BAM
 Post Posted: Mon Dec 28, 2015 3:58 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 27, 2015 4:28 pm
Posts: 5
I have 2 PS3 cams on the way (so says Amazon and UPS) and I'm truly excited to get BAM running. I'm blind in one eye and BAM is the first tech I've seen that actually has a 3D effect that works for me.

My question is regarding the modding (removing the IR filters) in the cameras. I've been all over ravarcade's site and I don't see ANYTHING that says you have to modify the cameras. In fact, he seems to indicate in a couple places that his cameras are stock (ie. unmodified).

What's the ground truth on modding the cameras?

Secondary question - Are the "Good" or "Bad" (moddable or un-moddable) cameras more common these days? I'd hate to think my cams are going to be the "Bad" ones.

Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Modding PS3 cams for BAM
 Post Posted: Mon Dec 28, 2015 11:17 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2014 12:36 pm
Posts: 2851
Location: Ontario, Canada
Yes you need to mod them

viewtopic.php?nomobile=1&f=86&t=5313&hilit=Ps3eyes&start=10

That's why randr was making kits for FP


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 Post subject: Re: Modding PS3 cams for BAM
 Post Posted: Wed Dec 30, 2015 6:03 am 
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Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2011 6:31 am
Posts: 70
Hi bdormer

I too am blind in one eye and find BAM amazing. I however use a Kinect 2 for the same effect as your PS3 Cams.

I hope they arrive soon and your up and running.

Enjoy

Phil


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 Post subject: Re: Modding PS3 cams for BAM
 Post Posted: Wed Dec 30, 2015 10:00 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 27, 2015 4:28 pm
Posts: 5
Phil -

I have a pair of Wiimotes already available to me (my kids have outgrown the Wii) and I could go that way as well - but after a lot of reading, I decided the PS3 cam was the best current option. The Wiimotes have to have batteries, there's a need to manually turn on both cameras.... it's not a solution that my family, friends and neighbors can just walk up and play. I'm sure they work great - but I want a turn-key solution.

I will probably get a Kinect (the Xbox One version) once Ravarcade gets it working with BAM, I finish my cabinet build and can find one on-sale (I try not to pay full price if I can help it). Not having to wear an LED is a real advantage. The PS3 cams are probably temporary.

bd


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 Post subject: Re: Modding PS3 cams for BAM
 Post Posted: Wed Dec 30, 2015 10:57 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2014 12:36 pm
Posts: 2851
Location: Ontario, Canada
Interestingly Phil, being blind in one eye
Yields the best 3d results with BAM
Head tracking :shock:

viewtopic.php?nomobile=1&f=86&t=4941


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 Post subject: Re: Modding PS3 cams for BAM
 Post Posted: Mon Jan 11, 2016 4:25 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 27, 2015 4:28 pm
Posts: 5
Since there seems to be lots of interest (at least in READING this thread) I'd like to pass along some of the information I've discovered:

0. I ended up buying 5 PS3 cams, and got 1 "good" one and 4 "bad" ones. I think the 1 good cam was more of a fluke. The good ones seem (based on my experience) to be rare birds. This prompted me to keep digging for a better way.

1. Based on input from forums and my own testing - you ALMOST CERTAINLY need to do SOMETHING to your PS3 cams to make them work well with BAM. Exactly what is a bit of an open issue. Basically, you need to get the camera to see a point source (and IR LED is the popular choice) and NOT see the visible ambient light background. That's the definition of an IR bandpass filter.

2. The popular option in the virtual pinball world is to get a "GOOD" pair of PS3 cams and modify them by disassembling and removing the built in IR filter and replacing it with an IR bandpass filter (the DIY solution being either a piece of floppy disk OR exposed/developed photographic film).

3. The crux of my quest has been A) what about the "BAD" PS3 cams (the ones that you can't remove the IR filter) and B) is there an easier way.

- I THINK I HAVE FOUND THAT WAY -

In looking at posts for free IR tracking projects (mostly for flight sims) - I found a much easier method that works without having to disassemble the PS3 cam or modify it in any non-reversible way.

You have to get some photographic gel filters, specifically LEE Congo Blue and Primary Red. The filters are about $6 (US) for a sheet (1 sheet could probably make a dozen or more filters). Congo Blue is nearly transparent in IR and 2 or 3 (instructions vary) layers of Congo Blue and 1 layer of Primary Red will reportedly make a nearly opaque black (in visible light) filter that is quite transparent to IR. You can make a filter holder out of a short piece of 1" PVC pipe cut with a hacksaw. You make 2 cuts - 1 lengthwise and 1 crossways - the cross cut does NOT go all they way thru. The filters slide into the cross ways cut and the pipe slides over the lens with a friction fit and so is COMPLETELY removable should you decide this isn't for you.

Reports are that this configuration works well even in a fully sunlit room. Although the IR LEDs light output might have something to do with this - I'm still looking into high-output IR LEDs.

I should note that I've seen at least a few posts indicating that instead of buying photographic filters, you can use the red/blue filters from cheap cardboard 3D movie glasses. It's been reported to work and is at least worth a shot.

I want to stress that this aren't my ideas - I'm merely reporting what I have found. Standing on the shoulders of giants, so to speak.

I now have 5 cams and some LED's in hand and some filters on order and I'll be visiting the plumbing area of the big-box hardware store this week to pick up the shortest length of 1" PVC that I can find.

I'll report back on how well this works (or not) as soon as I have some results.

Stay tuned....


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 Post subject: Re: Modding PS3 cams for BAM
 Post Posted: Mon Jan 11, 2016 7:49 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 13, 2015 5:49 pm
Posts: 197
OK, go ahead ...


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 Post subject: Re: Modding PS3 cams for BAM
 Post Posted: Sun Jan 17, 2016 2:56 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 27, 2015 4:28 pm
Posts: 5
EARLY TESTING RESULTS (Cameras & modded lenses) -

0. I obtained 2 modded lenses (IR filters removed) from Peau Productions.

1. Tested both the "good" and "bad" PS3 eye cams. The results are, to say the least, surprising.

1A. GOOD PS3 unmodded - can't see the IR from my TrackIR at all (from the workbench, about 12 feet away). It appears that the IR filter is quite effective.

1B. BAD PS3 unmodded - *CAN* see the IR from the TrackIR quite well from 12 feet away. So the IR filter in the "BAD" cameras isn't very effective.

1C. CONCLUSION - out of the box and IR wise, a stock, "BAD" camera is far better than a "GOOD" camera.

2. Installed a modded lens in an eye cam (the "GOOD" cam from the prior test).

2A. The modded cam can see the TrackIR from 12 feet - but the focus is quite twitchy and not really clear. This probably isn't a big deal as the lens can be shimmed to restore the focus OR, since all we really need for BAM is a dot, just left alone. I'll probably shim the lens if I even go this route.

2B. The modded cam was VERY overexposed at first, I set the Exposure to about 70% and Gain at 0 and the only things I was seeing were the Track IR and lights in the room. (I need to note that the room I'm in is 1) in a basement with no windows, 2) painted all black and 3) the lighting is deliberately kept rather low except at my desk and workbench. So in a more typical lighting environment, YMMV.

2C. The modded lens did produce a brighter image of the IR light source than an unmodded "BAD" camera - but the difference was not all that dramatic. I'd say the unmodded cam was probably about 80% of the brightness of the modded camera. Further testing is required to determine if a "BAD" camera with an IR filter works sufficiently well to avoid all the modifications entirely.

3. IR filter material (Congo Blue and Primary Red lighting gels) are on order and will be the next test.

4. I'm also leaning quite heavily toward using a "passive" IR system. This involves putting IR illumination next to the cameras and using IR reflective tape .vs. IR diodes. The advantage being that no power (batteries) are required for IR emitters on glasses. The reflective tape also has far less light scatter, so reflections off the playfield glass are virtually eliminated.

Stay tuned...


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 Post subject: Re: Modding PS3 cams for BAM
 Post Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 2:09 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 27, 2015 4:28 pm
Posts: 5
FINAL REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS

It's been a while (sometimes life happens...) - but here's my final report.

0. PS3 Cams and IR filters. The Leigh Red & Congo blue filters work well to filter visible light out and only pass IR. What is typically referred to as a "BAD" PS3 camera (because the internal IR filter can't be removed) is not an issue - just run them as-is and add the red/blue filter combo. What's referred to as a "GOOD" PS3 Cam REQUIRES that the internal IR filter be removed (which is possibly an extra expense and totally a pain in the posterior).

1. Active .vs. Passive IR - both have advantages and disadvantages. Both are fairly simple to implement. Both have the disadvantage that any IR source the camera can see could produce a false reading (and your playfield image will jitter or jump unexpectedly). Neither works well in a brightly lit room. Both require you to wear a reflector or emitter, so either a hat or glasses are required. If you wear glasses already, the passive system can cause reflections off your glasses that will muck things up. An active system can reflect off the playfield glass with similar results. Neither system is perfect, but they do work fairly well as long as you take care to avoid the situations that can cause problems.

2. The big disadvantage to the PS3 Cam / IR system is that they require the player to wear something. In a "party" environment, the IR headgear can easily get misplaced or damaged, not to mention the confusion it may cause with inexperienced players. It's not a totally "just walk up and start playing" solution. That fact is what killed the PS3 Cam approach for me. It was also the reason I never tried the Wii Cam approach.

3. SO... what did I do and what do I now recommend? You may not like the answer, but here goes: Buy a Kinect 2, the Windows adapter kit and a compatible USB3 adapter. You also need a fairly beefy CPU and GPU for everything to work. My hardware list, sources and appx prices appear at the end of this post. I already had the computer - so the expense to me was just the Kinect stuff.

4. The advantage - the Kinect 2 works under just about any lighting conditions, including pitch black. Room lights don't confuse it. You don't have to wear anything special (IR hat or glasses). If you have the right hardware, it's totally plug and play. It's almost like magic.

5. The disadvantage - cost (about $150 US). You have to have appropriate hardware. And I'm still debating putting the Kinect on top of the backbox or at the bottom of the backbox (since I'm building my cabinet from scratch - I can make space wherever I need it).

Hardware:

Computer: ASUS M5A78L-M/USB3 mobo, AMD 6300 6 core CPU (3.5 GHz, boosts to 4.1 GHz), 8 Gb RAM, EVGA GTX 750Ti SC Video card.

Kinect 2 (ebay ~ $80), Kinect 2 to Windows Adapter (~50), Sunshine-tipway® Pci-e to USB 3.0 2 Port Express Card (~ $20)

The USB 3 card for the PC is CRITICAL to making all this work - The Kinect 2 drivers for Windows are very picky about which cards they will work with. The Sunshine card is pure Plug-and-Play with Windows 10. You don't need to load any drivers - just plug it in and it works.

Everything on the list (except the Kinect 2 as noted) came from Amazon. I didn't include prices on the computer components, because they have probably changed since I bought mine. The only thing I might change is to get a more powerful video card, like a GTX 900 series. The 750 absolutely does the job - drives 3 monitors (playfield, backbox, DMD) with no problems. But prices have come down and extra horsepower never hurts.

Good luck with whatever option you decide to use.


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 Post subject: Re: Modding PS3 cams for BAM
 Post Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 10:46 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2014 12:36 pm
Posts: 2851
Location: Ontario, Canada
So here are the options:

desktop only
Desktop with BAM
Cab
Cab with BAM
Cab with BAM + headtracking (I agree kinect is best)
Cab with BAM + 3d monitor
Cab with BAM + 3d monitor + headtracking
Then throw in Ledwhizz, electonic nudging, plunger, solenoids, future DMD etc...

Vr BAM (imersive 3d environment,no need for cab, head gear slightly cumbersome)


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