Oculus Warns Against Using More Than Three Sensors For Rift And Touch

by Jamie Feltham • January 25th, 2017

Oculus appears to be listening to recent complaints about tracking stability for its Rift VR headset and Touch controllers, and is offering owners more help today.

The VR specialist posted a new blog in which it details ideal set ups for the Oculus sensors that track the headset and controllers. Every Touch owner will have two sensors that should be ideally positioned to best track the user’s position, but they can also buy a third sensor to enable room-scale tracking. Room-scale is a larger tracking volume that allows people the freedom of a couple steps in either direction while in VR. The HTC Vive can do it with only two lighthouse base stations. With the Rift, some users have been reporting issues with both two and three sensor “experimental” setups, however. VR fans — including us — have wondered if adding more sensors to the equation might help. That’s not something Oculus recommends.

“While your results may vary, using more than three sensors can create more technical and performance issues than it’s worth,” the post reads. “We recommend sticking with three.”

Technical issues could range from complications with tracking software to issues like using up too many USB ports on your PC, which Oculus warns to be weary of at the bottom of the post.

So, what setup should you use? Oculus has multiple suggestions, but one of its “favorites” can be seen below.

oculus-tracking

Though the diagram is a little confusing, the company explains that it “mounts three sensors directly in the corners of your room, about eight feet high, facing downward at a 45-degree angle toward the center of your play area” to get the best experience. You’ll likely need to do a little DIY to achieve that setup, though.

Crucially, Oculus states at the end of the post that room-scale is very much “optional” on its platform.

If you’re still having tracking issues even after reading the post then there’s still hope; Oculus will be issuing updates to the sensor’s tracking software later this month. The blog post is also the first in a four-part series, so later entries will likely provide more tips.

Tagged with: ,

What's your reaction?
Like
Wow
0%
LOL
0%
Dislike
0%
  • ImTheMetalLord

    Nice article!! I may have to pick up a 3rd sensor at some point then.

    • Get Schwifty!

      Don’t get too caught up in the FUD; it works pretty well, but while its not as robust as Lighthouse it works pretty well for front facing if configured correctly, and with a third works pretty well, but controllers will wobble a bit in transitioning between front and rear cameras. With the current software there is a periodic issue with one controller spiraling a bit before settling down. Don’t waste your time with getting a fourth sensor, waste of money (and I have one) currently.

      • At least not until they fix things. Mine works well with just the front facing sensors so maybe I’ll just wait. Thanks for the added info.

        • Get Schwifty!

          Yeah – front facing is for most folks it seems pretty darn stable… the third is the issue… I have heard people claim they had four working perfectly, but I am skeptical of these claims in general…. either they are *very* lucky, or they are not a critical in some cases about tracking irregularities.

          • MasterElwood

            I have 4 – and NO problems at all. Yes – i have the 15fps stutter sometimes at the beginning – but after the “beta-trick” everything is smooth and absolutely stable. WAY more stable than my VIVE tracking was.

          • Punk0

            I’m having problems getting 4 to work reliably, but I think it may be my mobo/cpu. What motherboard and CPU are you using?

      • OkinKun

        hmm well, at least that’s not true for everyone, and from the sound of things, the next big update should fix such issues..
        But I get vive-like results from my 3 camera setup, in a 9x9ft space. As far as transitioning between cameras, it almost never shows any signs of that, worst I’ve seen is maybe a tiny 1 frame hiccup, rarely if I’ve been playing a lot, but not a wobble in that regard.

        • Get Schwifty!

          Oh I agree, I am just speaking to what appears to be a consensus on tracking irregularities on the Oculus support forums for people who have them, I have consistently stated elsewhere many people use them with little or no issues… something the Vive fan set just can’t accept despite the evidence, much like the ignoring of countless videos showing people gingerly doing room scale with Oculus.. The other reality is I have also scanned various forums and this myth that there are no tracking issues ever with Vive’s Lighthouse… people report problems there too, granted not at the same rate, but they do exist. The problem is the press is playing up this “Vive vs Oculus” play to sell click-space, so its over-hyped and the fanboys on either side eat it up, and I personally think a lot of the “reporters” at most VR sites just plain don’t like Zuckerberg and company and as a result take a much more critical stance towards Oculus than they do Vive, not separating the technology from the people in their weighting of points during comparison.

          • koenshaku

            “The problem is the press is playing up this “Vive vs Oculus” play to sell click-space, so its over-hyped and the fanboys on either side eat it up, and I personally think a lot of the “reporters” at most VR sites just plain don’t like Zuckerberg and company and as a result take a much more critical stance towards Oculus than they do Vive, not separating the technology from the people in their weighting of points during comparison.”

            I don’t think that is the case at all. I looked at both and saw the Oculus shipping with a xbox controller and I did Try the Oculus DK beforehand that left me with a headache for a couple hours after a short session. If it wasn’t for the Vive with room scale and motion controllers out of the box my interest in VR would have died with the Oculus DK1 experience. Oculus has been playing catch up since launch FB / Zuckerberg aside, I think that is plain to see from anyone not just reviewers. After HTC makes headway with additional trackers and if they beat Oculus to the market with Wireless HMDs we will see Oculus yet again trying to make up for their short sightedness again with experimental drivers and tech to bring the same experience to their HMD.

  • Nicholas

    What a predictable mess.

    • Get Schwifty!

      Yes and no. In their defense – they didn’t originally design or plan for “room scale” with three or more sensors. The original plan was front facing, and the HMD+two sensors work very well in that role. I can tell you even running a laptop not officially supporting VR, but close, you can run three sensors with a bit of wobble when you are off at an angle, with a good 6’x6′ area. Now thanks to pressure from Vive (which is a good thing) they are attempting to step up to “room scale” in a reliable manner. I will tell you it works pretty well, but it’s a bit more ‘floaty’ than Vive if the angling of the sensors is not done with care. The problem of floatiness seems in my experience and others when you transition from the front cameras which work very well to a rear one, and again coming back. A slight skip can occur, you can see a Touch controller wobble, I don’t normally see it at all with the HMD interestingly enough, just Touch controllers. I tried four sensors with no luck at all really, it was terrible but they are working on the software for it, so I suspect at least with three sensors “small room-scale” will be pretty reliable.

      I have a suspicion too that more than a few folks with problems are having them because they are using systems not rated for Oculus requirements; not saying thats the root of the problem with the transition-tracking loss, but its certainly a contributor. Personally, I am giving them until the release of the Vive controllers to decided if I will pick up one or just stick with Oculus until V2.0 components start appearing.

      • Doctor Bambi

        Just curious, when you say “Vive controllers” are you referencing the knuckles controller prototype Valve showed off last year during Steam Dev Days?

        • Get Schwifty!

          Indeed…. the Touch is mainly (and some ergonomics with the HMD) that made me favor Oculus, but mostly the controllers. Had I known it would take them so long and Vive would come around as quickly as they have on the controller revision I might have gone Vive to start. The tracking on Oculus is not awful; but it is off enough to be annoying to me also when it occurs (I’m a bit OCD at times). OTOH, if Oculus works out the 3rd and 4th sensor tracking oddities I would be quite happy even if it means a smaller “room scale” space.

          • Sebastien Mathieu

            i’m selling my rift because of that… cannot track the same volume efficently as the vive even with 3 sensors….
            i prefer the oculus ergonomics but tracking has been a pain for me…. (i have roughly a 15×15 foot area to cover)

          • Scott C

            Out of curiosity, how many games/applications do you use 15’x15′ for?

          • Sebastien Mathieu

            Onward, Arizona Sunshine and the Gallery mostly, the less i use unnatural locotion ingame better is the immersion is for me…

          • Doctor Bambi

            That’s true, if the upcoming January update doesn’t significantly reduce those little hops and skips in hand tracking, we could be dealing with an overall limitation with the camera-based tracking system. Personally they don’t occur often enough to ruin the experience for myself, but admittedly, I’m not very OCD.

          • Get Schwifty!

            Frankly most of the time I just plain am so involved I don’t notice anything except the occasional spiraling on the right controller, maybe once an hour for a second or two. The other camera transition “jitter” is for me not immersion breaking unless I am looking at the controllers at the time. Knowing its there OTOH, it annoys me 😉

      • Nicholas

        Don’t get me wrong – I had some teething issues with my Vive (flaky DisplayPort support on Pascal cards, USB 3 incompatibility my motherboard), but they were trivial to diagnose and fix compared with the issues I’m seeing reported by Rift users trying to find the right combination of add-on USB cards, extension cables, and camera placement to get acceptable tracking.

        It really doesn’t matter how ergonomic or “cool-looking” the controllers are – if they track unreliably, they’re no good in my book. I doubt Oculus will remove the handy “experimental” disclaimer until they release the next version of HMD and controllers with different tracking tech.

        • Get Schwifty!

          Just bear in mind that probably the majority of Oculus users with three sensors (not convinced with four) are happy with it and probably playing spaces ranging from 5′ to 10′ square with tracking good enough that they are happy with it. I still content (as in my case) a lot of folks are using systems that are not actually rated by Oculus to work well, I think this factor along with the fact three and four sensors is still declared “Experimental” by Oculus at this point. My issue is they can’t sit on that forever, and if they don’t show a commitment to making progress and moving past that then its a real problem.

          • Nicholas

            If you look at the technical details: the fov vertically is too narrow on the cameras, there’s a focal length and resolution constraint as well which affects the tracking sweet spot, USB bandwidth might be overloaded from multiple camera feeds, and you might be limited by the length of the USB cable – that’s a lot of potential gotchas to deal with before even considering the PC processing capability. I’m not surprised Oculus are sticking to their disclaimers.

            I’m sure many Touch users would be plenty pleased with the novelty if they haven’t experienced anything better.

        • mirak

          I still have issues with DisplayPort and headset detection.

      • MasterElwood

        what problems do you have with 4 sensors? I didn’t see much improvement switching from 3 to 4 – but i didn’t see ANYTHING getting worse…

        • Get Schwifty!

          My system is just below the official acceptance by Oculus… I either have troubles with the calibration I cant get past or if I do it’s very floaty with four… radically worse than three to the point its useless for me on my current setup. I really wish I could do four, I really do and hope they get it done.

          • MasterElwood

            Have you tried connecting the 2 usb 2.0 via and active usb hub? That helps a lot with power isssues…

  • Noel Grundy

    3 sensors here, Not having any issues with room scale.

    • polysix

      You say that, but you’ve never tried VIVE. After you’ve used vive the whole oculus ‘roomscale’ thing really does feel like shit.

      • OkinKun

        I’ve used both for development, I prefer Touch.. If we’re talking 10x10ft or less, there is absolutely no difference in the room-scale experience between the 2.. Cept Touch is a better vr controller IMO and it’s all more comfortable. Sure, Vive can do larger spaces, but most consumers don’t have more than 10x10ft, and thus will never be able to use that advantage, so why not get better Touch controllers instead. lol

        • koenshaku

          I personally go the Vive for a few reasons 1.I don’t like Facebook, 2. It was designed for room scale, so it isn’t a USB port hog and you don’t have to have an extra sensor that is more tacky. 3. It is more expensive when you purchase everything.
          I would mention the Vive being an overall more innovative solution with the new trackers coming out for tracking legs and other objects, but I made my decision before that was announced ^^

        • SHunter

          Less wires the better. Besides, tracking in opposite corners reduces occlusion to like 99%

          • OkinKun

            Less wires how? Have you actually counted? They have basically the same amount, just different types.
            Each Lighthouse takes a power cable, so 2 wires there, the HMD needs USB, HMDI, and power, so 3 wires there technically, and I think it has a breakout box. The Rift has 1 USB per camera, and nothing needs power cables. So basically, the Rift needs 2-3 wires for it’s USB cameras, and USB/HMDI for the HMD. 5 cables at most.. And in my situation, it’s easier to use USB, than find more power outlets for everything.

          • SHunter

            Hmmm I suppose that is true!
            The headset on each is basically 1 wire with tails and each sensor has a wire.

          • Crunchy005

            Ya, but not having to run USB cables to my computer makes the Vive towers easier, it also doesn’t limit where I place my towers as much as the USBs would to my computer. Also the vive towers are basically dumb and the tracking is done by the device. So the Vive tracking system can have 16 separate things that can be tracked, it does take more USB ports for these other devices but still the processing for the Oculus to track so much through the cameras would be insane i’m sure. Also you can have multiple Vives work within 1 set of towers. The oculus does have benefits but i think the vive is more convenient for room-scale, especially after TPCast comes around and we have wireles for the headset, then you don’t have to have the computer right by the play area.

      • Get Schwifty!

        Dude…;. you don’t know what people have tried, and regardless, if the consumer is happy with the tracking that’s all that matters. Why can’t you simply accept its not that bad for many people? And a 9×9 foot or 10×10 foot “in no way feels like shit”, come on. You are so fanatical about your support of Vive and dislike of anything Oculus it just paints you as a fanboy. Lighten up and accept that both systems have their weaknesses and merits and they will evolve over time. If nothing else you should support Oculus efforts on a certain level simply because it pushes HTC that much harder (and vice versa). If Touch hadn’t come out you might well be using those clunky ass wands for another three years when HTC finally decided to finish working on the design.

        • SHunter

          I dont want to buy a product and say “Its not that bad”

        • NooYawker

          An open debate of pros and cons is always good but I agree, we all should be happy if people buy a VR system. Any vr system, the more people that have them the better for all of us.

        • Petr Legkov

          I sincerely don’t get why people prefer oculus, except for couch factor. I sweat even more in the oculus headset. It’t decently better build and looks superior. It’s true HTC&VALVE&VIVE have to improve the controllers, no doubt. Nevertheless, IMHO i see a greater potential in the whole VIVE eco system. Just got my FOVE, they are working on SteamVR support. So you can apparently use different headsets for the Vive ecosystem … Can you do this with Oculus? Can you easily distribute your Content with Oculus? There is nothing i wish more than a superiors Oculus. The whole Industry needs to battle harder 😉 Yet there is to me at least no clear winner yet …

      • Jona Adams

        I’ve owned both. With 3 Oculus sensors it’s as good as the Vive no doubt. I can reach up above my head, all the way down to the floor, in a 9×7 foot space. That’s 441 cubic feet of volume. LOL.

        • Moe Curley

          If it was as good as Vive it would be 1,575 cubic feet.

          • Jona Adams

            You’re assuming I have a basketball court sized living room. My place space is the same with either one.

      • MasterElwood

        Yeah – i had a VIVE. My 4 sensor tracking is WAY more stable than my VIVE tracking ever was. Plus: occlusion is much more reduced now – and i don’t have to cover up mirrors and windows.

  • My guess is that these sensors stress too much USB in general

    • Sebastien Mathieu

      agreed, expecially with extentions… i’ve got lot of problems…

    • Get Schwifty!

      Sigh… for some people, not everyone by a long shot…. how many happy people posting using three sensors (and even a few with four) does it take to convince anyone?

      • About what have I to be convinced?

        I use Oculus frontal setup and I haven’t had any issues. But if part of people is having problems, some issue with this room-scale exists. And Oculus writing guidelines on Oculus controllers is an evidence of this

    • Petr Legkov

      Nah, you can’t stress USB. So far i see, the sensors require USB 2.0 right? So there should be no problems with to much bandwidth, unless you use a cheap and crappy hub …

      • Marty Tilert

        The sensors are USB 3.0 actually but the same logic probably applies, don’t use a crappy USB controller. But from what I hear that’s a little harder to do with USB 3.0 since only certain companies make good ones and it’s not always obvious which model is the good one.

      • Well, Oculus is releasing all these guidelines about USB controllers and various nerdy stuff… so something (power, bandwith, etc…) of USB goes bad if you attach too many controllers

  • morfaine

    > which Oculus warns to be weary of at the bottom of the post.

    I think you mean ‘wary of’.

  • Brad Pitzel

    I’ve added a 3rd sensor to my Oculus setup, and it is a big improvement. I liked the rift but felt it was mostly a novelty until Touch was released. But Touch was a bit frustrating since tracking would fail if you turned sideways. With a 3rd sensor, I no longer have to “face forward” all of the time – it’s a great 360 experience. I find myself using the rift much more frequently now. I wish Oculus would admit, and fully embrace, that room scale / 360 is the true game-changer for VR. Either they don’t think it’s critical (which would be scarily narrow minded), or perhaps internally they do but publicly are pretending otherwise since they would have to concede HTC’s early focus on room scale was the right strategy.

  • Aeroflux

    God dammit Oculus, stop shooting yourself in the foot! At least take a shot at someone else’s foot.

  • Kevin Austin

    4 sensor setup, not much issues. Every now and then my hands get some weird jittering/stuttering but if I just go to settings in Oculus and click Beta at the bottom, then click restart oculus everything is golden.

    • Get Schwifty!

      Man I wish I could get four working, three is cool but it just goes nutty when I try four with my current system, but it is slightly below spec so that might be part of the problem…. should be upgrading in about three months or so… hopefully by then the kinks are worked out and with a system technically rated I won’t see the issues. How big an area do you find the tracking to the floor reliable with four?

      • Kevin Austin

        My space is about 7’x6′ and I’ve got furniture along the walls so it’s a “moderate” play space. However to get mine working I followed a friend of mines video tutorials on youtube. Check out RealitycheckVR. Basically he covers this;

        1. Plug all 4 sensors in while having the oculus software running.
        2. Run full setup.
        3. When it gets to the sensors, let it detect, it should detect 4 and either say it detected okay or unavailable.
        4. Click to the next screen which will ask you to hold your controller up and squeeze the trigger at eye level. This is where the issues are, it won’t recognize your 4th sensor and won’t let you place any of the sensors.
        Click skip.
        Click skip
        Finish.
        5. Run the sensor setup AGAIN.
        6. This time you will see the sensors, place them.

        Note: you will get hand stuttering, exit the game you’re in, oculus settings, bottom of the page hit beta, restart.

        • SHunter

          yeah none of that sounds fun.

          VIVE:
          Affix sensors in opposite corners.
          Play games with 0 occlusion.

          • Sebastien Mathieu

            Yep!!! stop using the rift after fiddling to much with USB extention and recalibration… good for smaller area tought with sensor directly plugged on PC…

        • Sebastien Mathieu

          hehehe been there done that a lot of times… it’s very annoying

  • mirak

    “So, what setup should you use?”

    A HTC Vive …

    • polysix

      They won’t switch because facebook (stop calling them Oculus – oculus as we knew it are dead), want cameras to track data with (personal data) for advertising (and worse) reasons. More chance of them going fully standalone (with cameras on the HMD for similar personal data tracking) than them ever changing to ‘passive’ (non money making) lasers.

      • OkinKun

        LMAO.. What a complete load. None of that is even remotely true, why do you feel the need to make up conspiracies?

      • Get Schwifty!

        LOL you don’t think there is tracking information in Lighthouse systems that can be gleaned and relayed, are you serious?

        • mirak

          Not in lighthouse system since there is no camera used for tracking.
          But the camera on the headset could be used ^^

      • koenshaku

        Yes facebook has the largest database of people on the planet with no rival. Zuckerberg probably has like display with thousands of screens watching get off to VR P0rn. Next thing you know you are getting ads for handpicked toys by Zuckerberg himself lol

        • NooYawker

          I dunno. Google has a pretty vast database of personal data.

          • koenshaku

            I was being sarcastic, but to comment google has nothing close by contrast. Anyone can use a system on an internet connection. Which isn’t a clear indication of who is doing what on the online. Google+ isn’t nearly as popular as facebook in fact I don’t even hear about it anymore (Myspace). Facebook has actual people on it, They also enforced full name use for some time. A friend of mine had her account locked until she produced two forms of ID to FB to continue use. She held out for about a week to my surprised before she took a picture of her ID and a birth certificate.

            I don’t know what she was doing on FB how frequent that happens to people, maybe she had someone impersonating her or something I don’t know I don’t use it. People posting their lives online, which I have never thought was really a smart thing to do lol. It has it’s benefits, but lets be realistic the app has overthrown governments the lives of it’s is just casual use. That said to throw away your life by using an Oculus Rift when you can be using the most advanced VR tracking system in the world on a Vive Just kidding. 😛

  • OkinKun

    I dono what all the fuss is about. I’ve got 3 sensors, and it works absolutely perfectly for my roughly 9x9ft area.

  • Jona Adams

    I just received my 3rd sensor and pretty much did exactly what they recommend. Amazon has these spring loaded clamps that you can attach your sensors to. Which is really nice because it allows to quickly detach and reattach in different locations for experimenting best placement, or for moving to different locations.

    Now I have a massive 9’x7′ play area. And even though I really prefer to do standing only style of playing, it’s nice to have a large area to move when you need to. If that makes sense.

  • Paul Clark

    i have both the oculus and vive – oculus sensors .. you can’t be too close to them, they have this horrible conical field of view thing going on – they only really track where two sensors overlap, and they take up multiple USB 3.0 ports – high bandwidth, I’ve had to swap around ports until I find a combination that works just right.. And the Vive? Lol perfection.

  • Overand

    Warns to be “wary” of, not “weary” of. Wary – apprehensive/cautious. Weary – tired of.