Archive for the ‘System Buidling’ Category

Cheap Wii Remote for $29.99 and Nun-chuck for $14.99

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

Expired

Price drop on Wii remote and nun-chuck.

Just saw this deal:

Wii Remote $29.99 Nun-chuck $14.99 on amazon. Act now to get your project started at a much lower price! Also check out their items on the hardware list: http://www.buildwii.com/archives/51

Where to buy (the updated hardware list)

Monday, April 20th, 2009

Hi, many asked for the list of the components I mentioned in the video. I did make a post (check out the original hardware list). However, it recently dawned on me that there is actually a new way of doing this! A much easier way!

OK. So, now I offer two hardware lists if you wish to carry out this project:

The lazy guy’s list

  • A wireless Wii sensor bar (~$16) – Yes, a year after I created this site. You can now actually buy the wireless sensor bar on Amazon. It’s about $16, so this will bring the total cost above my original estimate of $50, but hey, not that much! Check out the amazon store list above.
  • A Wii-mote (~$35 on amazon) -  the wii-mote is plentiful in a local store near you (e.g. BestBuy, Walmart, Target, ToyRus etc..). Or if you wish to buy online, that’s fine too. Check out the amazon store list above.
  • A usb bluetooth dongle (optional $3~$17) – this allows the PC communicate with the wiimote. If you have a laptop, your laptop may already have built-in bluetooth capability, in that case, you will not need this.
  • A Wii nun-chuck (optional, $19) – you will need this if you intend to play games that uses the extra input. Since currently, most wii games do not require a nun-chuck, I anticipate there will also be a lot of games that do not need this and therefore not including the nun-chuck as a must into the list.

The “I want to learn something about electronics” list

  • A Wii-mote (~$35 on amazon) – although the Wii console is scarce, the wii-mote seems to be plentiful in a local store near you (e.g. BestBuy, Walmart, Target, ToyRus etc..) or you can also buy online (check out the amazon store above)
  • A usb bluetooth dongle (optional $3~$17) – this allows the PC communicate with the wiimote. If you have a laptop, your laptop may already have built-in bluetooth capability, in that case, you will not need this. Check out the amazon store above.
  • >=2 IR-LED ($4) – for building your own sensor bar. You can buy these in your local RadioShack. If you buy them $3 for 20, click here).
  • A Wii nun-chuck (optional, $19) – you will need this if you intend to play games that uses the extra input. Since currently, most wii games do not require a nun-chuck, I anticipate there will also be a lot of games that do not need this and therefore not including the nun-chuck as a must into the list.
  • Bread-board (~$9, optional). You will need this if you cannot find any soldering equipment in your school to put your electric circuit together. The cheaper alternative is to use electric tape to stick the components together, but that would be very sturdy. :)
  • Misc: some batteries, some wires, soldering equipment, some extra IR-LEDs if you intend to develop more advanced-applications. I also assume you already own a PC or a laptop

Top 10 Reasons to Build Your Own Wii

Monday, January 28th, 2008

embedded by Embedded Video

Metacafé link to:

Testing Applications

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008

After setting up the connection. Our PC-Wii is done! It’s time to test it, and have some fun.

Testing Buttons and Accelerometer 

We can first start by testing the communication between the Wii-mote and our computer. The simplest application for a quick test is WiiRemote.
1. Here what it looks like after you download the program and run it.

screenshot

2. Enable cursor mode by selecting Options-Cursor-On from the menu. Now move your wii-mote and you should see your cursor will follow your movement (roll and tilt for up/down, left/right. Press A for left click and B for right click. When you press any buttons on the Wii-mote, you should see the corresponding button light up on the Wii-remote GUI. 

[youtube VcqkQ3YxTd4 ]

Testing Sensor Bar

After testing the bluetooth communications are working fine, it’s time for the moment of truth, a Wii system would not be complete without a sensor bar. This test can also be done with a WiiRemote as well.

1. Fire WiiRemote.exe once again. Click on Options-Preferences, and you should see the following screen

screenshot2 

2. Select IR Sensor to switch to sensor bar mode, and then use “Options-Cursor On” again to enable cursor mode. With some luck, we should see the cursor move left and right through the exact position of the wii-mote in front of our sensor bar rather than the relative roll/tilt motion in the previous step.

3. If you succeeded in the previous step, then congratulations, you may move on the more exciting “Game Development” section to either download some sample games to play around with, or start creating your own Wii games! However, if you don’t see the cursor move properly, go back and check your sensor bar with the testing procedure described in the “Sensor Bar” section – if the IR lights are on, you should see them through a webcam.

Have Some Fun

Through using the WiiRemote application that turns a Wii-mote into a mouse, you can already start having fun with the new PC-Wii system without any additional coding! Please checkout the “Game Development” section and “sample downloads” to check out the currently available test apps and games you can download and enjoy!

This is a video of me running a virtual robot simulator with the wii-mote.

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube link to: driving virtual robot

Here’s a video I found on Youtube that someone’s playing Halflife 2 using just accelerometer functions of the wii-mote.
[youtube.com asY_I8y6C0M playing halflife2 with wiimote]

Connecting the Wii-mote to your PC

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008

Believe it or not, with the sensor bar in place, the hardest part is done! The rest is easy – connecting the wii-mote to the PC. The Wii-mote transmits 6-axis position and rotation information to the Wii-console via bluetooth. Fortunately for us, these sensor data are not encrypted and thus be intercepted by the device capable of bluetooth connectivity. This means, many laptops with built-in bluetooth and usb adapters for many PCs.  The comprehensive list of tested hardware that works with the wii-mote can be found here.

The driver I chose to use is BlueSoleil, that can be downloaded from their website. After download and installing the driver (reboot maybe required), here are the steps for getting it to work:

  • Plug in the bluetooth adapter to your usb and right click on the task-bar to start up the BlueSoleil configuration program (you may need to activate bluetooth if not already activated).

  • Press 1+2 buttons on the Wii-mote and double-click “search devices” to enable the PC to scan for available bluetooth devices. Keep pressing the buttons until it is discovered by Bluesoleil (the 4 lights on the wii-mote should be blinking during the scanning process). Repeat step 1 and 2 if it fails find the Wii-mote.

  • Right click the Joystick icon that appeared on the BlueSoleil program and select “connect”

  • If the connection is established, it should look like this.

  • Finally, go to next section “Testing Applications” to test your connection with programs such as WiiRemote.

The Sensor Bar

Tuesday, December 25th, 2007

Intially, I thought the sensor bar is a sophisticated piece of hardware that acts as the receiver of signals emitted from the Wii-mote and transmitts these signals into the Wii-console for processing. In that case, one would need to hack the Wii-console in order to pull motion tracking information from the device. Later, I realized that this is far from the truth. In fact, it’s the exact opposite – the sensor bar is actually the emitter of signals, and it is the wii-mote that is doing all the magic! For more information about the inner workings of Wii, check out the “Wii: Demythified” section.

To recreate the sensor bar, all you need is the following: two IR-LEDs, some wires, and a battery (can be any battery from 1.5V to 9V, although for larger batteries, you will need some resistors). Follow the following schematic diagram to build your sensor bar.

To save soldering, I used a piece of bread-board for connecting the components together. For durability, stability and asthetics, you should do the soldering and preferably mount it on a nice looking case, but that’s all optional. Here is what my final product look like:

I plan to make a video to show you how this is done. Stay tuned.

Update: I actually found a pretty good video on YouTube that teaches you how to do what I explained above to create a sensor bar (without wires) for the Wii itself.

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube link to: Sensor bar explanation

Testing  Sensor Bar

Despite our sensor bar is extremely simple as a piece of hardware, we still need to test it to make sure we have connected or soldered everything correctly. If the IR LEDS are actually visible, this test would have been very simple – connect the battery and see if the lights would actually turn on. Unfortunately, IR lights are not visible to the human eyes. However, they are visible through a webcam. Connect a webcam to your PC and record a video of the sensor as we plug in and then the battery. If everything’s working, we should see the lights come up and then off through the view of the webcam.

The hardware list

Tuesday, December 25th, 2007

Here is a list of things you need to invest for building this system:

  • A Wii-mote ($39) – although the Wii console is scarce, the wii-mote seems to be plentiful in a local store near you (e.g. BestBuy, Walmart, Target, ToyRus etc..)
  • A usb bluetooth dongle (optional ~$5) – this allows the PC communicate with the wiimote. If you have a laptop, your laptop may already have built-in bluetooth capability, in that case, you will not need this.
  • >=2 IR-LED ($4) – for building your own sensor bar. You can buy these in your local RadioShack. If you buy them online, it’ll be even cheaper.
  • A Wii nun-chuck (optional, $19) - you will need this if you intend to play games that uses the extra input. Since currently, most wii games do not require a nun-chuck, I anticipate there will also be a lot of games that do not need this and therefore not including the nun-chuck as a must into the list.
  • Misc: some batteries, some wires, soldering equipment, some extra IR-LEDs if you intend to develop more advanced-applications. I also assume you already own a PC or a laptop