Wii U to be released this weekend, Wii U GamePad to be torn apart on workbenches across the land

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, Nintendo will be releasing their next-gen console this weekend. It’s called the Wii U, and one of the most interesting features is the Wii U GamePad – the first controller to feature a full-color video screen right between the analog sticks.

Needless to say, we’re not terribly interested in the Wii U. The GamePad, though, looks perfect for robot controllers, FPV aerial vehicles, and a whole slew of projects that require some remote control.

The hardware for the GamePad is fairly impressive; apart from D pads and analog sticks, the new Wii Controller features a front-facing camera, gyroscope, accelerometer, magnetometer, 6.2 inch 854×480 touchscreen display, and an extension port housing an I2C bus for all your old Wii peripherals.

Other than a stock feature list, we have no idea how the Wii U will be able to transmit video to the GamePad. It might be WiFi, allowing you to connect all your projects to a wireless network and control them without a whole lot of hardware.

We’ll keep you posted on the developments of hacking the Wii U GamePad. Hopefully we’ll all have an awesome remote control by next year.

Comments

  1. rasz says:

    Not that interesting considering the price (same or more than Android tabled)

    • parkerlreed says:

      But this isn’t supposed to replace an Android tablet. It is a companion accessory to the Wii U. I don’t get why people keep comparing it to a tablet.

      • rasz says:

        people keep comparing it because it packs less hardware, but will cost more – I mean the pad itself sold separately will be more expensive than a good Tablet. Whats the point? Just because you get 2 analog sticks?

      • Leif says:

        Because this isn’t a game console review site. It’s a site about hacking things to do something other than what they were meant for. You could do that with an Android tablet.

        “We’ll keep you posted on the developments of hacking the Wii U GamePad. Hopefully we’ll all have an awesome remote control by next year.”

        i’ll point out though.. It might be nice to have the actual physical sticks and buttons that are on a game controller for controlling your robot rather than just a bunch of virtual controls on a tablet screen.

  2. Ken M says:

    Id Say it’d be more and a bit of a waste, plus who knows if the console itself would work without the fancy control, since it looks like you only get one controller wiht a screen, and you can’t buy another one seperately (at least not yet).

    Besides I imagine for $359 dollars you could buy a cheap 10″ android 2.0 tablet off Ebay and try to adjust the code in the ARM to do what ever you wanted (and probly get some of the features to work correctly), and maybe make a wider case for it and include some analog joysticks, some extra buttons, all for around the cost of one of these controllers, and you’d still get more.

    • Yeah, you could do the same thing with a $200 tablet. If the history of the original Wii is any indication, though, everyone and their grandmother will have one of these controllers within a year or so.

      It’s the same as the WiiMote and classic controller; Yeah, you can build a controller with an accelerometer and gyro, but why do that when you have one sitting on your coffee table?

      • Ken M says:

        I just think it’d be a little a wasteful if you hack one up to use as you desire then come to find out the wii won’t work without it, doubt that would happen but in the off chance it does… then you have a console that is sitting there being worthless, unless the offer up a way to buy more of the controllers, but the way it sounded in the add on game stop is that its to be a “unique” experience where only one player can use it.

      • v says:

        You should know whether the Wii will work without the controller before destroying it. Just take the battery out and see if the Wii still works.

      • Alex D says:

        200$ tablets don’t have analog controls. It’s a nice looking form factor for dealing with remote control vehicles. Of course you could manage cheaper, but it’s still pretty interesting.

  3. S2H says:

    The first hacks I’d like to see with the Wii U are an antenna amp / higher gain antenna on the console side to increase the controller’s wireless range. Gentlemen, ready your aluminum foil!

  4. qwerty says:

    You can buy a cheap *and open* microcontroller board with LCD screen and much bigger expansion capabilities for a fraction of that cost off ebay or other stores.

  5. GrizzlyAdams says:

    From what I’ve been told by a couple of licensed Wii devs I know, the new controller is using Miracast instead of Bluetooth. Not sure how locked down Nintendo will go with this, but any security they implement won’t last long if the past is any indication.

    • qwerty says:

      Nintendo has a long story of being hostile to homebrew developers and tinkerers. I’m a very happy first model Wii user, but would never use any of their products for hacking, esp when I could get more free ones for less money.

      • GrizzlyAdams says:

        Right, they are almost as hostile as Sony, but they continue to fail at security over and over again. Even when they patch one hole, twenty more identical holes remain.

  6. metheos says:

    Don’t forget it also has a microphone, NFC, Infrared transmitter (unsure about receiver), and an extension port for all the wiimote accessories giving you more analog controls to take advantage of.

  7. riycou says:

    anyone ever seen the tv show called Robotics:Notes it looks similar to their tablets except for it being much thicker than the show and the buttons, if it was thinner had an hackable os on it and supported an sim card id carry it arround as a video phone, game device.

  8. NewCommentor1283 says:

    they reeeally called it the “wii u” ??? is that a sexual joke?
    thats so innapropriate for a childs toy

    back in highschool, “me-u” and “u-me” or “meu-ume” meant “having sex”…
    from back in the day where just saying sex meant detention

    PS: 400 bucks USD and you will sue me if i find out the password to something i legally PAID for?????!?!?!?!?!
    you got to be kidding me.
    how about you tell me every last password that could possibly be entered into it,
    THEN and ONLY then, will i even THINK about buying it.
    better idea, wipe your crapass jail-*(%*&^ software AND data off of it,
    and give me all the PDFs i need to program it.
    THEN we will talk.

  9. killerbug666 says:

    Not at all interested in the console, but I might be interested in the controller once the price drops…just think of all the hacks done with the old WiiMotes…and they didn’t even have screens!

  10. Isaac says:

    I am curious how the thing will be powered. If it’s just a very basic processor that takes stream from wii over wireless/bluetooth/whatever and displays it, it won’t be all that useful. If it’s got a decent processor and does the processing on the device then… well it could be interested.

  11. Alex G says:

    I want some one to turn the controller into a portable game cube enclosure. that would be bad ass.

  12. Coda says:

    I think most of you are missing the point. Complaining about the price of the console by because the primary controller has a touchscreen and is therefore a ‘tablet’.
    Did the template change lower everyone’s IQ exponentially or something?

  13. Jopl12 says:

    Hi Brian,

    When you eventually dissassemble the controller, would you be able to tell us if it has the proper innards/circuitry to be able to be modded as a wired device and transmit data via a wire as opposed to wireless? (As per my thread on the forums over here: http://forums.hackaday.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=2468)

    Thanks!

  14. Sitedude says:

    I heard from someone who used to work on the PS3 Dev team that he’s working on a Wii U softmod already and may have done it by the sound of it. I’ll find out some more details I know the group is http://www.wiiuhacks.com I’ll keep everyone updated if I hear more.

  15. k3spice says:

    I heard from someone that was part of the PS3 Dev team that they may have already softmodded the WiiU. I’ll find out some more details later today when I talk to him. I know their site is http://www.wiiuhacks.com I’ll find out more and keep everyone updated.

  16. Pun says:

    I wouldn’t be suprised if in a year, this thing *was* sold seperately and *was* cheap enough to be useful. So we’ll have to see.

  17. Cyril says:
  18. eule says:

    Just get a Yinlips or JXD Android “gamepad”. Best thing since the Dingoo.

  19. Leif says:

    So what if these are only sold, one per WiiU and the WiiU doesn’t work without it. A lot more people will buy these to use as intended than to hack them. And.. someday.. they won’t want them anymore. There will be broken WiiUs with good controllers. There will be ‘broken’ controllers which just have a button that’s been mashed too hard. Replace it or just don’t use that one feature. There will be yet another generation of game consoles and old WiiUs lying around that nobody cares about anymore.

    Some day this will be a plentiful source of hacking material. And that’s assuming they aren’t eventually sold separately as an accessory… not to mention cheap knockoffs!

    Besides, who says you have to ‘break’ the controller so that it doesn’t work with the console anymore? Maybe you could use it in a project AND still for playing games. Just probably not both at the same time…

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