Medical conditions that prevent individuals from being able to walk are difficult to handle, even more so if the patient happens to be a child. Shriner’s hospitals treat a good number of children suffering from cerebral palsy, spina bifida, or amputations. They are always looking for creative treatment methods, so their Motion Analysis Laboratory looked to some Rice University undergrads for help. They asked the group of engineers to design a system that would make physical therapy a bit more fun, while helping encourage the children along.
The team recently unveiled their project, called the Equiliberator. The game system incorporates a series of five Wii balance boards situated between a pair of pressure-sensitive handrails. The platform communicates with a computer via Bluetooth, registering the patient’s movements as he or she moves along the path. The software portion of the system consists of a monster-slaying game which requires the child to step on a particular section of the pathway to dispose of the oncoming enemies.
The game is designed to get more difficult as the child’s balance and coordination improve, encouraging them with an ever growing bank of points as they progress. The final goal of the project is to enable the pressure sensitive handrails to determine how much the child is relying on them for balance, offering in-game incentives to walk with as little support as possible.
We love seeing hacks like this which not only entertain, but truly help people in the process. Kudos to the team at Rice University – they have done a fantastic job here.
Continue reading to see a quick video describing the Equiliberator in the designers’ own words.
Continue reading “Teaching children to walk using video games”
[Tijmen Verhulsdonck] built his own version of a Wii remote-controlled balancing robot. He drew his inspiration from the SegWii, which was built by [Ara Kourchians].
The body is built using one of our preferred fabrication methods; threaded rod makes up a rail system, with three sheets of hard board serving as a mounting structure for the motors, electronics, and battery. This does away with the 9V batteries used on the original SegWii, opting for a very powerful lithium battery perched on the highest part of the assembly. It uses an Arduino as the main microcontroller. That detects roll, pitch, and tilt of the body by reading data from a Sparkfun IMU 5 board (we’re pretty sure it’s this one). Check out the videos after the break. The first demonstrates the robot balancing on its own, then a Wii remote is connected via Bluetooth and [Tijmen] drives it around the room by tilting the controller. The second video covers the components that went into the build.
This is impressive work for a 17-year-old. [Tijmen] lists his material cost at $800 but since he’s Dutch this might not be a USD currency.
Continue reading “Retake on a Wii remote controlled balancing robot”
The Wiimote is a fantastic tool for hackers, given their affordability and how easy they are to work with. [Gareth] had a “eureka” moment while working on another Wiimote-based project, and with some alterations, converted it into an electronic whiteboard.
The whiteboard was built using the IR sensor he extracted from a Wiimote, which is wired to an EasyProp board to process the input. The Wiimote is aimed at a LCD screen, which can be “drawn” upon using a light pen he constructed from an IR led and a few batteries. Any movement of the pen is tracked by the Wiimote’s IR sensor and converted to an XY coordinate, which is then painted on the screen. The sensor has the ability to track up to four points at a time, so you can theoretically use up to four pens simultaneously.
[Gareth] points out that the sensor is not limited to tracking small displays, as the white board can be easily scaled up in size using any kind of rear projection device.
Continue reading to see a video of his whiteboard in action.
Continue reading “Wiimote-based whiteboard lets you write on any surface”
The wireless controller for the Nintendo Wii has been used in many a hack due to its simple to use Bluetooth interface. The nunchuck portion of the controller however, has always required a physical tether to the wireless controller, or an aftermarket wireless dongle. [Rousselmanu] is looking to change that with his Bluetooth-enabled wireless Wii nunchuck. He is able to retrieve a slew of data from the nunchuck, including information from all of the accelerometers, buttons, as well as the joystick. The data is read into a PIC MCU and relayed via serial to a Bluetooth module he purchased online.
The Bluetooth module looks fairly easy to interface in Linux, and [Rousselmanu] has a video showing off how well the nunchuck can be used to interact with 3D models. He admits that the controller is a bit ugly at the moment as all the components don’t quite fit so well, but future revisions will surely remedy that.
Keep reading to see a video of the nunchuck in action.
Continue reading “Bluetooth-enabled Wii nunchuck”
Those of us that remember when you could actually go to a mall and play on a VR game machine, tend to remember it fondly. What happened? The computing horsepower has grown so much, our graphics now days are simply stunning, yet there’s been no major VR revival. Yeah, those helmets were huge and gave you a headache, but it was worth it. With the 3d positioning abilities of the latest game crazes, the Wiimote and the Kinect, [Nao_u] is finally taking this where we all knew it should have gone(google translated). Well, maybe we would have had less creepy anime faces flying around squirting ink, but the basics are there. He has created a VR system utilizing the Wiimote for his hand position, a Vuzix display for head positioning, and the kinect for body tracking. Even with the creepy flying heads I want to play it, especially after seeing him physically ducking behind boxes in the video after the break. Long live VR!
Continue reading “VR! now with more kinect, wiimote, and vuzix”
[Catea] has put some considerable effort into making a wiimote more accessible to people with physical disabilities. He started by extending the buttons out to much larger versions mounted on a lap tray. This makes playing games much easier for those that are lacking the fine motor skills to hit the buttons on the wiimote. This alone is a pretty substantial improvement, but [Catea] wanted to do more.
Taking the whole idea further, [Catea] published a second instructible where he outlines the process of adding two Arduinos and Xbee modulse to make the external buttons wireless.
While we could be content following our “kiddie d-day” as [Caleb Kraft] suggested. We know you can’t continue such an awesome Friday without trying to blow yourself up first.
This Wiimote Rubens’ tube caught our eye. A PVC Aluminum irrigation pipe is drilled with holes and propane is pumped through. A speaker on one end creates changes in pressure and a neat light show follows suit. [ScaryBunnyMan] went further though, with a collection of software and a Wii Remote he “plays god” controlling the music, and thus, the fire. Check out a fun video after the split.
Continue reading “Wiimote controlled Ruben’s tube”