Wiimote IR finger tracking

Just in case you needed another way to pretend that you’re in Minority Report, [Johnny Lee] sent in this video showing how to track your hands using the Wiimote’s IR camera,an infrared LED array and a bit of reflective tape to improve the gain.


  1. John says:

    Anyone have any more info on this? Wiimote software for PC’s and the like? This could lead to alot of cool stuff

  2. monopole says:

    My fave PC software for the WiiMote:

    Note that rather than rely on retroreflective tape you could always use IR fingerlights:
    Expensive ones:
    http://www.seitzinc.com/shop/page3.html (FL_7)
    or get some cheap ‘rave’ fingerlights:
    and change out the visible LEDs for IR.

  3. Connor says:

    Interesting and simple. Really not a complicated hack in any way and not really useful without further software but… interesting… I can just see myself hacking a wii controller to make a modded power glove, using my finger to own on first person shooters. I don’t really think this is very amazing, but it got me thinking a bit.

  4. Sgt Pyroman says:

    Kind of reminds me of a talk that Jeff Han did at the 2006 TED conference (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLhMVNdplJc), except that the Wiimote finger tracking is a whole lot more cost-effective. All we need now is for this to catch on so that people can create software that utilizes this technology to its full potential.

  5. gm says:


    This is hackaday, build your own IR fingerlights!
    (it’s only a battery, a resistor and an ir led… possibly a switch if you like)

  6. natrium42 says:

    It’s better to use IR LEDs on the fingers as the posters above have suggested. High power IR light can be dangerous to the eyes because the pupil doesn’t contract with IR light. It depends on the power of the IR array, of course, but better to be on the safe side.

    A pretty cool hack and nice demo.

  7. The Steven says:

    I can see this working well for mapping apps, image manipulation, or even better with BumpTop…. Also, why not sew the retro-reflective to the fingertips of gloves?

  8. Johnny Lee says:

    Yeah, version 1 were with little IR LED lights. It definitely works nicely and at even futher distances. LEDs happen to fit perfectly into the shell of a BIC pen, so it’s super easy to make “IR pens” you can draw in the air with. But, you have the bulk of a switch and battery/wires.

    I just the idea of just waving your fingers was a bit “sexier”. So, this is version 2.

  9. Angus says:

    has anyone seen that program that’s being developed, and it’s basically a mosaic, but i don’t think the zoomed out version looks like anything. anyway, it can take hundreds of high res pictures, and put them all at your fingertips to zoom in and out, and pan around.

    you may have no idea what i’m talking about, but this finger tracker would be perfect for it

  10. Chris E. says:

    You are thinking of Microsoft’s Photosynth. If someone got this finger tracking set up with Photosynth I would just might have to purchase a Wii… Just kidding, but yeah, the remote is cool.

  11. zsbMich says:

    This is an awesome add-on to the project I’m working on. I’ve already connected the Wiimote to the PC via Bluetooth software and coded an app to emulate mouse and keyboard messages.

    Being able to set the remote down and use my hands is an awesome concept. I only see one problem, how would one simulate button clicks and selection? I use the buttons on the remote and nunchuck. This hack would allow for camera movement and such, but not much else in terms of interaction….still awesome though =)

  12. JtM says:

    “how would one simulate button clicks and selection?”

    You could simply detect when a marker disappears and appears in quick succession, i.e., use your fingers like triggers (hiding the reflective patch) to activate mouse clicks. This doesn’t solve the problem of selection (i.e., you can’t click and drag) but it would at least allow for simple forms of interaction.

    You could even use the distance of fingers to the screen (the size of the blobs) for applications that require pressure sensitivity.

  13. Mihai says:

    This is a brilliant idea, so simple and so effective.

    One good application for this might be to replace drawing-tablets for graphics programs. I’m not sure if the same kind of level of control can be achieved, but it might have advantages for some people.

    And maybe Nintendo picks up on this and creates gloves and games specifically designed for this kind of use.

  14. bulldozer says:

    I’ve been wondering if it is possible to drill a few holes into the front of the casing and put some LEDs inside and wire them to the power of the wiimote. If you use reflective tape it might be enough power for the wiimote to sense it. This way we wouldn’t need two devices to get one task done. A switch for the leds would of course be cool too.

    This way you can use it for finger tracking or if you stick reflective tape to your screen you can use it as a “regular” wiimote.

  15. ur2muchr says:

    does anyone know a good “how to” site for creating an infrared LED array like the one in the video??

  16. bridleman4 says:

    Johnny Lee’s work is really cool. He inspired me to create a similar system for 3D finger tracking using two Wiimotes. It also has built-in gesture recognition. If you’re curious, here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gc87ZGSP6A

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