Face Tracking Article

[01-18-2011] - The Face Tracking utility is no longer available and will not be made available any time in the future.

This page is for the face tracking utility I wrote for my face tracking article on ExtremeTech.  Please read the page for helpful information on using the utility and where to find help with it.

Currently there are no updates for the Face Tracking Utility.

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Required Hardware

You can run the FaceTrack utility without a camera turret as long as you have a standard Windows web camera. Naturally, the camera wonít pan and tilt to follow your face without a turret, but you can watch the system detect your face and then track it via the colored boxes  it draws around your face to show you where it thinks your face is currently.

If you want your camera to track your face with this utility you will need at the very least the X10 CM15A transceiver and the Ninja Pan Ďní Tilt camera turret.  The CM15A is the bridge between your Windows PC and the X10 gear you have in your home.  It transmits signals both along the power lines running through your home and via radio frequency (RF) using its antenna. This allows it turn X10 modules on and off and to pan, tilt, and center the Ninja turret amongst other operations.  The best way to get started, if you donít have it already, is to get the X10 ActiveHome Professional package.  This package includes the CM15A transceiver and software.

X10 also has a software package that allows you to control your camera turret over the Web and stream video to you remotely. I have not used it but if youíre looking for that kind of capability, that may be an additional item to get.

IMPORTANT: Driver Notes

Make sure you have the latest drivers installed for the CM15A transceiver or your gear will not work right.  At the time this was written, the latest drivers could be found using the link below and the file name to download was x10drivers_6432_239.exe.  However, check to see if there are newer ones just in case:

CM15A drivers page

If you have trouble, try the X10 technical support forum for help.

Camera Notes

For my setup I just have the CM15A transceiver and a standard USB web camera that I clipped on to the Ninja Pan N Tilt camera turret.  That works fine for me. If you want to have the camera far away from your PC, you might consider the Ninja/Camera combination.  The camera in that package has transmits via radio frequency (RF) to a receiver. This allows you to have the camera anywhere in your home as long as it is within range of the receiver so you are not limited by the length of a USB cable as you would be with a direct connect camera. Be aware, if your home has a lot of RF interference from other devices you may not receive a clean video feed.

X10 Caveats

X10 gear is a lot of fun and is used reliably by millions of people worldwide.  However, it should not be used for mission critical purposes. Also, itís the kind of gear that for some percentage of people will be problematic.  If you have complicated electrical wiring in your house the power line signaling may not work right.  If you have a lot of RF interference in your home you may have trouble controlling the RF devices and transmitting/receiving wireless signals. I suggest you buy from a reputable dealer with a decent return policy and test everything within the warranty period offered.  I bought my gear direct from the X10 web site.


X10 Hardware and Software

X10 Home Automation kits starting at $49.99. Click Here.  

Activehome Professional

Activehome Professional

ActiveHome Professional Home Automation Starter Kit with USB Computer Interface and Software


"Pan 'n Tilt Robotic Camera Base, Remote"

The robotic NINJA Pan 'n Tilt Camera Mount (camera not included) allows you to sweep your XCam2 video camera left, right, up and down. Featuring 240 degree views and up to 4 preset positions! Remotely position camera to view whatever you want with included ScanPad remote!


"XCam2 Color Camera System with Pan 'n Tilt Base, Remote, Receiver"

The XCam2 is a tiny, powerful wireless video camera that easily installs anywhere around your home. Delivering live COLOR video to your TV, VCR or PC. With the robotic NINJA Pan 'n Tilt Camera Mount you can sweep your camera left, right, up and down.


Vanguard Camera Control Center Software Pack

Vanguard Camera Control Center Software Pack

Miles From Home! No matter where you are, you can now View LIVE Video from your Vanguard camera or your X10 XCam cameras anywhere in the world! Add to that complete control of Pan, Tilt and the powerful 44X Zoom for your Vanguard cameras and you've got a total remote surveillance system at your command.


Important Links

Technical Support Forum for FaceTracker Utility

X10 Technical Support Forum

Read The Face Tracking Utility Article (not available yet)


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