Linux has had support for numerous hand-held infrared remote control
devices for many years through the Linux Infra Red Controller
(LIRC) drivers. There has
been recent work to
include LIRC in the kernel.
The Nintendo Wii Remote
is a more sophisticated remote control that was developed for the Wii
game platform, it is accessible through a collection of
Linux tools called CWiid.
Wikipedia describes the Wii Remote:
The Wii Remote, sometimes nicknamed "Wiimote", is the primary controller for Nintendo's Wii console. A main feature of the Wii Remote is its motion sensing capability, which allows the user to interact with and manipulate items on screen via movement and pointing through the use of accelerometer and optical sensor technology. Another feature is its expandability through the use of attachments.
The Wii Remote was announced at the Tokyo Game Show on September 16, 2005.
The Wiimote hardware capabilities
- Two-way wireless Bluetooth connectivity to the host.
- A screen-mounted Sensor Bar with multiple IR light sources and a 5 meter range.
- A built-in IR camera with distance and rotation sensing capabilities.
- A three axis accelerometer for detecting hand motions.
- Six general purpose remote control pushbuttons labeled A, -, Home, +, 1 and 2.
- An up-down-left-right four-way pushbutton.
- A power switch.
- Four remote controlled LEDs.
- A built-in speaker for providing audio effects.
- A "rumble" device for producing vibrations.
- Built-in non volatile memory with space for user data.
- A hardware expansion port.
- Powered by two AA cells, can use rechargeable types.
CWiid was written by L. Donnie Smith and has been released under the
GPLv2. The project has been around since March, 2007 and is currently
at version 0.6.00. The
document explains the CWiid software interface.
There are currently at least twelve
programs using CWiid.
Some of the highlights include
control of DMX
lighting systems with
3D display of chemical structures using the
molecular editor, the
control device for music programs and
a newly released
prototype Wiimote Control for the
Ardour multi-track audio editor.
Although the Wiimote control is ideal for use in games, there
don't appear to be any such developments under Linux at this point.
One of the more interesting uses of the Wiimote includes
for an immersive 3D experience, based on the work of
Johnny Chung Lee.
This approach to 3D visualization produces full-color
displays, unlike the the old-fashioned 3D movie technology that uses
glasses with red and green lenses. Other 3D technologies require
expensive LCD shutters that tend to produce a lot of flicker.
The head tracking 3D technology would be well suited for use by the
New Wiimote devices can be purchased for $40 or less.
Many of them exist on the used markets, thanks to the popularity of the
If your favorite application could benefit from a two-way wireless
remote control device with a wide variety of features,
the Wiimote looks like a good choice.
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