How to activate a fan when the W key is depressed?

zeroyon04zeroyon04 Posts: 3
edited August 2013 in Omni Feature Questions
Hi all,

I'm thinking of using a small electrical fan that will sit a few feet in front of my face, that will connect to me or the Omni harness by a metal pole. Whenever the computer sees a forward movement (or the "W" key "keystroke" by the Omni software), it would activate a switch or relay that connects to the power switch on the external fan.
This would be so that whenever you start running in a game, you would feel wind rush over your head and neck, and definitely raise the level of immersion :mrgreen:

Does anyone know the simplest way of accomplishing this? I've used arduino and PicBasic a bit before, but I'm not aware of any software that takes keystrokes from a PC and translates it directly to PC-external actions such as activating relays. Is there any freeware that does this? Would this probably have to route through an arduino? (not sure if you can activate relays by USB... :? )

If anyone has some good ideas on how to implement this simply and effectively, I'm all ears :D

EDIT: I just noticed that something called the PowerUSB might be able to do this, I'll look into it a bit more..


  • RaoulRaoul Posts: 125
    There are many ways at implementing a fan to trigger on a W press. An Arduino or a USB controlled power strip are two options for this. There is also plenty of home automation solution like Zigbee, Z-wave or even X10 that can turn on any electrical device from a PC.

    A simple fan that turns on an off is fun, but I'm hoping to go a bit further than that by integrating a fan controller. My first goal is to do this for Volo airsport where you're airspeed is displayed on screen. I'm looking to grab this speed and control the speed of the fan based on it.

    Have asked a friend of mine with an audio engineering degree if it's possible to determine wind speed based on audio cues in game. I'm thinking you could control the fan speed based on the sound of wind in games, although this will probably have to be configured/calibrated per game.

    But this is all on the end of my Omni/Rift to do list, so it will take a while before I get started with this.
  • RaoulRaoul Posts: 125
    Just stumbled upon this and figured it might be interesting for people here.

    A speed controlled fan for racing games: ... t2918.html

    There are definetly some ideas there for people looking to integrate a fan into an Omni/Rift setup.
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