These 15 ton robotic arms can reach 16 meters. Not content to control them by a simple joystick, the team hacked together WiiMote controls for them. Ok, we get it. Everybody loves the Wii. What is different about using the WiiMote in this scenario? You can see that they are only using the pitch, yaw, and roll. They’re not utilizing the tracking aspects at all. The only difference between the WiiMote and their joystick in this scenario is that the WiiMote connects via bluetooth. Frankly, we just like the fact that people are playing with the robotic arms, WiiMote or not.
Here’s an interesting WiiMote based project. [Mans] is a tennis fan, though a bit out of practice. With the tennis season coming to a rather climactic end, he got excited and wanted to brush up on his skills. He found the toss part of his serve to be very sloppy. Being a hacker, the first thing he thought was that there must be some way of tracking and graphing his toss so that he could improve it in an intelligent and controlled manner. The WiiMote seemed a perfect fit for this. Only a small modification was necessary, an external button wired to the internal “-” button. This switch is active while he’s holding the ball, and inactive when the ball is released. In this manner, he can track and chart his toss to find out exactly where he needs improvement. He uses [Johnny Chung Lee]’s code, with a small but unspecified modification to write the accelerometer data to a text file.
As he points out, this could be very usefull for any repetitive movement. Whith accelerometers getting cheaper and cheaper, there’s nothing stopping you from using multiple ones either. Imagine a golf rig to analyze your swing, Maybe a boxing rig that measured your hip twist and arm extension, or possibly a yoyo glove to tell you if your flick needs some help. Great job [Mans].
[Matt Cutts], head developer for google’s anti spam team, describes how to attach a Wii balance board to a linux computer. He even shows how to make a GUI to show the input. The entire project is done in about 200 lines of python.The process assumes that you can already make a bluetooth connection to a WiiMote, but if you can’t, he’s got instructions for that too.
[knuckles904] was able to use the new Wii MotionPlus with an Arduino. Nintendo has released the WM+ in order to detect the motion of the controller better. The Wiimote only detects acceleration, whereas the WM+ detects rotation along 3 axes. The Arduino communicates with it over I2C, the same protocol that is used with the Nunchuk. To connect the two devices, he used jumper wires, but breakout boards are also available. He was able to create some example code with help from wiibrew.org. When paired with a Nunchuk, which contains a 3-axis accelerometer, you can have a 6 degrees-of-freedom IMU for under $40, perfect for controlling your robots or logging data.
[NRP] sent us a few of his projects. The most notable of the bunch was a school project funded by Disney. They were to make some kind of interactive entertainment for people waiting in line for rides. They decided on a wand style interface. Each wand has an accelerometer, an IR LED for tracking, an XBee unit, and a few buttons for interaction. They wrote some custom games and a multi person white board to test it all out. You can see those in action, along with a space themed pong game in the video after the break. Even though this was funded by Disney, you can still find all the source code and schematics, available for free.
[Ozan] sent in this build log from when he made a Wiitar. As you can probably guess from the title, it’s a guitar combined with a wiimote. He has completely gutted the Wiimote and installed the internals in the guitar. Some toggle switches were mounted to control the button states on the Wiimote. This is a pretty useful setup as you can use the Wiimote data to control effects on the guitar. We’ve actually seen a very similar setup before. [Ozan] has included the build log, as well as a simple glovepie script and a sample effect patch.
The Phoenix is a very impressive hexapod robot platform. It has 18 servos which gives each leg 3 degrees of freedom and a BasicAtom Pro 28 for the brains. Interestingly, the design started as a personal project of a forum member on the Lynxmotion forums. It turned out so well, it has become an actual product. We’ve seen videos of these before and they always have some pretty fluid and organic seeming motion. They seem almost alive in this configuration. The only thing that might make them scarier would be to add Lou Vega’s decapitated head, well maybe that plus some really nice face tracking. In the video above, you can see where someone paired one up with a Wiimote for a pretty intuitive control scheme. Yeah, we realize the video is nearly a year old, how did we miss this one? You can see a video of it walking around after the break, and another controlled by a ps2 controller.