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Friday, June 22, 2007

How Does the Wii Controller Work?

According to Technology Review

The key to the Wii's main controller is its three-axis microelectromechanical-system (MEMS) accelerome­ters, which measure movement in three dimensions.
Tiny 3-D accelerometers which measure sudden movement.

As some of my readers know I’m a big fan of the Wii, even though it’s caused some old aches and pains. Sales of Nintendo Wii are kicking butt even against the superior graphics of the PlayStation and X-Box.

The tactile and audio response along with the realistic play action makes the Wii a generation ahead of any other video game console. The controller includes a speaker so you hear the whoosh sound of your tennis racket, and includes its own micro processor with both RAM/ROM memory.

The controllers use a combination of both Broadcom Bluetooth and infrared signals to quickly detect distance and motion. The console includes WiFi so the Wii can connect to your local wireless network. I regularly send photos back and forth to my grandkids Wii located in Germany.

Thanks to my CNet newsletter I was directed to a great article in the MIT Technology Review called “Hack: The Nintendo Wii”. This article is the best explanation I’ve seen for how the Wii controllers work.

This reminds me of back when Texas Instruments developed a 10th level LPC voice synthesizer for their Speak & Spell toy. They had no idea the significance of what they created. While this motion-sensitive technology was created for the video game wars I expect to see it adopted for many other applications.


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