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Hardware Hacking Wii

Head Tracking w/ the Wiimote 169

mrneutron2003 writes "This guy just doesn't know when to stop. Johnny Chung Lee graces us with yet another one of his inventive Wiimote projects. This time it involves using the Wiimote and a pair of inexpensive LED safety goggles (with the standard LED's replaced with InfraRed ones) to allow positional head tracking , achieving an effect similar to what is experienced with three dimensional displays and CAVE systems. The video dramatically illustrates the effect. Game developers take note. This simple little variation on infrared tracking could allow for some seriously immersive gameplay in the future." This guy deserves a medal.
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Head Tracking w/ the Wiimote

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  • by LoudMusic ( 199347 ) * on Sunday December 23, 2007 @11:16AM (#21797940)
    Surely he's sent in his resume. That's some really cool concepting, and not that Nintendo doesn't have their own cool concepts, but this is just incredible. The best part is, it's really simple and appears to be mass producible for cheap - two things Nintendo does well already.
  • Muppets? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AsnFkr ( 545033 ) on Sunday December 23, 2007 @11:20AM (#21797966) Homepage Journal
    Is it just me (and my girlfriend), or does this guy sound a lot like Kermit the Frog?

    Also, the head tracking is awesome.
  • by cheebie ( 459397 ) on Sunday December 23, 2007 @12:00PM (#21798182)
    Give this man a consulting job!!!

    Nintendo, are you listening?
  • Remind me again... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hawthorne01 ( 575586 ) on Sunday December 23, 2007 @12:20PM (#21798302)
    Why the Wii isn't for "serious" gamers? Who needs 1080p when you've got this?

    Combine this with the weight-shifting capability of the Fit, and you've got an immersive gaming experience that's second only to the holodeck.

    So. Freaking. Cool.
  • by LoudMusic ( 199347 ) * on Sunday December 23, 2007 @12:50PM (#21798516)

    i look to the right and the game view looks to the right?

    Only problem now is that i can't see the TV
    You need a bigger TV ...

    And besides, it's not what direction you're looking, it's what direction you're looking from. Move your whole body to the right while continuing to look at the TV and the display on the TV changes perspective. Not to mention depth of field, and distance from the TV. Did you even watch the video?

    Why am I even responding to an AC comment?
  • by Tom ( 822 ) on Sunday December 23, 2007 @01:07PM (#21798634) Homepage Journal
    Which is the whole beauty of it! The second thing I thought when watching the video was whether I could possible create a small game around that concept (I'm a hobbyist game developer).

    It's so simple that you can do something with it, without having to wait for IBM, or Nintendo or any other big-$$$ company to bring out the relevant hardware in maybe 5 years.
  • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Sunday December 23, 2007 @01:27PM (#21798774) Journal

    Surely he's sent in his resume. That's some really cool concepting, and not that Nintendo doesn't have their own cool concepts, but this is just incredible.
    Not to harsh your buzz, but there is a reason head tracking systems are not widely popular for gaming.

    The PC Gaming landscape is littered with failed head-tracking systems. The reviews inevitably say something like "this thing is awesome, but fatiguing."

    There are eye-tracking systems that are not nearly as fatiguing, but if you've seen one, you'll understand why they haven't taken off in popularity.
  • by cheater512 ( 783349 ) <nick@nickstallman.net> on Sunday December 23, 2007 @01:37PM (#21798834) Homepage
    It just needs to be done properly.

    If you talked about putting a accelerometer in to a controller before the Wii, you'd be laughed at.
  • by bipolarpinguino ( 944613 ) on Sunday December 23, 2007 @01:52PM (#21798914)
    from my understanding, the limit is imposed by the bandwidth-per-point transmitted over bluetooth, and not the onboard image processing on the wiimote.
  • by drgould ( 24404 ) on Sunday December 23, 2007 @02:40PM (#21799228)
    As I understand it, the infrared detector on the Wii remote is basically a camera with an IR filter in front of it.

    Potentially you could just use a webcam with an IR filter in front of it instead of a Wii remote.

    Note: 1) there is usually a filter to filter out IR inside most webcams, so that would have to be removed. 2) IR emitter tracking would have to be done on the PC instead of inside the Wii remote.
  • by jkoke ( 1112287 ) on Sunday December 23, 2007 @02:53PM (#21799318) Homepage
    The Wii appeals to people who wouldn't touch PC games, and given the physique of the typical PC gamer, I can see why it would be "fatiguing" -- I imagine most PC gamers, even if they have a Wii, aren't standing up to play it because that would be fatiguing too.
  • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Sunday December 23, 2007 @02:56PM (#21799340) Homepage
    Just because Nintendo hasn't created a product for the mass market doesn't mean that nobody at Nintendo has thought of it yet. Here's some other ideas for the Wii. A hard drive, or a keyboard for the browser. Those are the first things I thought of when I first got my Wii. From what I understand, you can use a USB keyboard on the Wii menu now, and they are in talks with a USB driver maker to get USB hard drives working. However at release, they didn't have any of this. Did we all think we where geniuses for thinking of this stuff? Granted I think the stuff he's doing pretty cool, but just don't assume that just because Nintendo doesn't have a product, that they haven't already thought of this.
  • by Lerc ( 71477 ) on Sunday December 23, 2007 @03:16PM (#21799482)
    If Nintendo hired him they would patent anything he creates.

    How about people just send him some money so he'll keep doing what he's doing and make it free?
  • by perbu ( 624267 ) on Sunday December 23, 2007 @03:48PM (#21799704)
  • HOLY SHIT (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Buzz_Litebeer ( 539463 ) on Sunday December 23, 2007 @03:55PM (#21799746) Journal
    Holy shit that was awesome, why is this guy not employed somewhere they can give hive lots of money? If I were in a gaming department for the next XBOX360 flight game or something, I would hire this dude and give him as much money as he needed to make potential customers feel as if they were inside a frigging airplane lol man that was sweet looking.
  • by Dr_Barnowl ( 709838 ) on Sunday December 23, 2007 @03:55PM (#21799748)
    I think this is less of an issue with the Wii because the input device moves with you. With the PC you are craning your neck while you keep your hands on the keyboard. With the Wii, it's almost difficult NOT to move the input device in sympathy with what you're doing onscreen.
  • by LiquidCoooled ( 634315 ) on Sunday December 23, 2007 @04:14PM (#21799874) Homepage Journal
    Nahhhhh bandwidth isn't that limited.
    Remember the core wiimote can handle an additional nunchuck or the classic controller, each of which requires more data than the small amount of data per frame required.

    If Nintendo wanted to do this anyway I believe they would use a custom device with its own interface (and would almost certainly retain the power connection the current sensor bar uses).
    There has been rumour that the next wii will be controller less, people simply acting out the actions to get results.
    This will be done via sophisticated processing of a normal image and not be limited to having to stick baubles onto our bodies.

    Having said that I am fascinated by this technology and find his 'hacks' amazing.
  • by powerpants ( 1030280 ) * on Sunday December 23, 2007 @04:22PM (#21799932)

    The problem with game peripherals is that the sell through rate is so low that not enough people buy them to make it worthwhile to create games that fully exploit the hardware. So even if the game is just a pair of cheap glasses with leds on them it might not sell just because of that little extra expense. Someone should figure out a way to make a game that uses this without buying any extra hardware - you might have a winner.
    Ummm... ever hear of Guitar Hero?
  • Re:Why a wiimote? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Ithil_Mith ( 930174 ) on Sunday December 23, 2007 @04:37PM (#21800014)
    I've also used webcams as input to capture motion and patterns, the biggest problem with this solution is the refresh rate, which sucks. On the contrary, the wiimote has a much faster refresh rate, which gives you a smoother reponse improving the usability. Citing to Chung Lee ..."It contains a 1024x768 infrared camera with built-in hardware blob tracking of up to 4 points at 100Hz. This significantly out performs any PC "webcam" available today."...
  • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Sunday December 23, 2007 @07:30PM (#21801212) Journal

    I think this is less of an issue with the Wii because the input device moves with you.
    The issue has nothing to do with the input device moving and everything to do with the output device (your monitor/tv) not moving.

    If you're perfectly perpendicular to your monitor, there is limited arc of motion that your head can make before the monitor is out of your direct line of sight and into your peripheral vision. This artificially limits what you can do in a game and is why head tracking systems have not replaced traditional controls for looking along the X & Y axis.

    I'm not saying there is no role for this in gaming, I think it would be great if Nintendo could make it cheaply for the Wii and developers created games that could use it effectively... but that has been tried before in PCs... without much success.

The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford