Johnny Lee: Free or cheap Wii Remote hacks


Some research and development requires big and expensive equipment, resources, and sensors.   It’s awesome when innovators make cool technology more affordable, accessible and available to young students and hackers.   As a student at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), Johnny Lee explored ways to use the remote control devices of a Nintendo WII in his human computer interaction(HCI) research.  (Check out his cool blog here.)   It isn’t commonly known that WII remote controls or “WIIMotes” can be connected to computers/Android devices through Bluetooth.   By sharing his Wiimote experiments using video and social media in 2008, Johnny Lee spawned a movement of experimentation and software tinkering.   Mr. Lee has provided a brief introduction to his work on the following TED talk. 

In contrast to other programmable sensor devices, a WIIMote probably costs you $40.  It provides accelerometers, gyroscopes, an infrared camera, and common game controller features.  You may have a Wiimote already in your house.  Brian Peek has published a wonderful open source library to empower .NET developers to use WIIMote sensors in their applications.  The various aspects of the WiiMote are exposed using C# events.  The code to get started is very simple.   The community experimentation based on Johnny Lee’s work has been delightful.   Check out some of the cool hacks and experiments created by the Johnny Lee, Brian Peek and the community.

Want to get started with building your own WiiMote innovations?  Check out the following links:

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