webcam-hot-mirror

Ever notice that stand-alone digital cameras photograph the Oculus Rift just fine but most webcams don’t?

It’s because webcams are used indoors, so there is little need to block the infrared light produced by the sun.

It’s not normally a problem, but the Rift uses IR LEDs for positional tracking and it creates an image inconsistent with our own eyes.

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If we want to use a webcam, we’re going to need to block that light spectrum.

This was one of the rare problems a Google search wasn’t a lot of help with because most people want the reverse; a camera that films in only IR for night vision.

After spending a little time on Reddit discussing the problem, we were able to work out the solution. Instead of an IR filter, what I was looking for is known as a hot mirror.

Because they’re used outside a lot, most cameras have hot mirrors, so all I had to do was take one from a cheap and long-dead digital camera.

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Once it was free, I placed it on top of the sensor in the webcam (after I cleaned my finger prints off, of course.)

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I was lucky with this webcam; the small glass fit snugly, so all I had to do is pop it in and close the camera back up.

I think you’ll agree that the end result looks great.

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So, yeah; if you need to make the Rift look normal on your webcam, that’s all it takes. I figure this is something we’ll have to do until webcam makers realize it’s a problem.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask.