Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

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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