Product: TrackIR 3 Pro
The TrackIR 3 Pro is a VR gadget that tracks head movement, letting you literally look around the cockpit in flight and racing games, which should put an end to uttering those famous last words: “I never saw him coming.”
TrackIR combines a webcam-sized device with a reflective dot that tracks your head movement. True geeks can affix an included reflective tracking dot directly to their foreheads or sunglasses. The rest of us can slap the adhesive dot on a headset microphone or cap, or better yet, buy NaturalPoint’s less-nerdy TrackHat, which includes a small reflective panel.
Using TrackIR takes a little adjustment, since movements are exaggerated so that you can look behind you without actually turning from the monitor. By default, TrackIR just lets you pan and tilt your view. The optional Vector Expansion clips give you full 6DOF (six degrees of freedom) movement, allowing you to lean out of the cockpit to look past the engine during takeoff or lean forward to look at the instrument panel.
So far, only about 20 games have direct TrackIR support, though older driver versions can emulate a mouse, which does work with a handful of unsupported games. Third-party add-ons add keyboard and joystick emulation.
TrackIR is pricey, but the amount of immersion it adds to titles like Pacific Fighters, Flight Simulator 2004, and Live for Speed is worth the money – and the embarrassment of playing a game with a shiny dot on your forehead.