Learntofish's Blog

A blog about math, physics and computer science

Archive for March, 2009

Wii remote hacks and genius

Posted by Ed on March 24, 2009

Wii remote is the controller for Nintendo’s newest console Wii. With it you can play games such as tennis by moving the controller like a racket. This is possible because the acceleration is measured. The Wii remote also has an infrared sensor and it turns out that its quality is high enough to make possible amazing technology. Johnny Lee, a former computer engineering student, uses it for the following:
1) Head tracking system – The picture is changed according to your position. Doesn’t sound impressive? Just look for yourself.
2) Tracking fingers – Remember Tom Cruise moving the screen with his fingers in Minority Report? The tracking system comes pretty close to the movie.
3) A low cost multi-touch whiteboard – This is an electronic version of a white board. Although there are already commercial systems out there, Johnny Lee’s version is much cheaper making it affordable for schools or companies with a low budget.

Many people have rebuilt those systems above with the help of the source code made available by Lee on his website (you can watch them on youtube). He even gave a talk at TED. A true genius who now works for Microsoft.

Here’s a short report on the computer engineer (in German) and another one (in Portuguese, but with English sub titles). The latter is interesting because he states he has worked with Randy Pausch (known for his last lecture).

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