Wii + MacBook Pro + Dome

Paul Bourke
March 2007

Experiments using the Nintendo Wii as a wireless 3D interface device.

Hardware: Wii remote, Mac Book Pro, 3m diameter dome, SXGA+ data projector.

Software: DarwiinRemote, DarwiinRemotePatch, qcwii and locally developed interactive and navigable movie software to generate realtime graphics for the dome.

320x240 Motion JPEG QuickTime (13MB)

Navigating around a visualisation of node activity on a Cray XT3

With 3 axis accelerometers and a bevy of buttons (12) it is interesting to speculate how a Nintendo Wii might be used in other ways besides those associated with the Nintendo gaming console. The Wii is a (wireless) Bluetooth device and as such one can readily create applications that access the Bluetooth data and respond accordingly. Indeed at the time of writing this there are projects well under way that interface the Wii to Mac OS-X, Linux, and MSWindoze.

VIP (Isabella Buczek and Bob Weber)

Cubic maps of Melbourne Library (Peter Murphy)

The exercise illustrated here was to evaluate the potential of the Wii as a low cost wireless 3D interface device that could be used for interaction within an immersive environment. The software being interfaced was all local so there was maximal flexibility to add direct Wii/Bluetooth functionality into the application code.

Cosmological simulation

iCInema (Volker Kuchelmeister)

The result was a usable but inaccurate navigation device, at least as far as the accelerometers were concerned .... the buttons were fine but then that is similar to a Bluetooth keyboard. These tests were not performed using the IR sensor and that can undoubtedly be used to improve the accuracy when used in conjunction with the accelerometers.


As expected the IR sensor makes a huge difference to the accuracy of the Wii as a pointing device. Unfortunately just using that only results in navigation in the plane perpendicular to the Wii axis, again not much more than a Bluetooth mouse. An interesting experiment would be to use the IR sensor as a form of stabilisation for the 3D mouse navigation, something I expect the Nintendo does.