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See also: Positional tracking

Tracking allows the VR or AR system to know where your head (HMD), hands and other body parts (Input Devices) are looking and moving. Tracking is important to accurately render the virtual world to match your physical positions and movements.

Tracking can either be 3DOF (rotation only) or 6DOF (position and rotation). Early VR tracking technology in the 1990s used magnetic tracking systems that used either AC magnetics or DC magnetics depending on the provider.

The Magic Leap 1 uses 6DOF magnetic tracking for its controller, but it is poor quality.

Rotational Tracking

Rotational tracking tracks an object's movement in all 3 rotational directions: pitch, yaw, and roll. Rotational tracking is usually performed by IMUs such as accelerometers, gyroscopes and magnetometers.

Positional Tracking

Positional tracking tracks an object's movement in all 3 translational directions: forward/back, up/down, left/right. Positional tracking is usually more difficult than rotational tracking and is accomplished through different Types and Systems.

Tracking Systems

Lighthouse - laser-based system developed by Valve for SteamVR.

Constellation - optical-based system developed by Oculus VR for Oculus Rift (Platform).

WorldSense - developed by Google that uses markerless inside-out tracking.

Comparison of tracking systems

See also: Comparison of tracking systems

There are several consumer-level tracking systems currently available. Originally, these were used for interaction with regular non-VR video games, but more recent tracking systems have been used for VR systems.

Brand & Model Tracking system Inside-out Outside-in Marker-based Marker
IMU Spacial
Facebook/Oculus Rift Constellation No Yes Yes Infrared Yes  ?  ?
IndoTraq HSVT Yes No No Infrared Yes 0.3 10
HTC Vive/SteamVR Lighthouse Yes No Yes Infrared Yes 0.3 15
Microsoft HoloLens  ?? Yes No No Infrared Yes  ?  ?
Nintendo Wii Remote  ?? Yes No Yes Infrared Yes  ?  ?
Sony PSVR  ?? No Yes Yes Red/Green/Blue Yes  ? 18
Google WorldSense Yes No No  ? Yes  ?  ?