2nd Testnight: WII-mote

Post by: Joris Weijdom Add comments

IMG_7793.jpgAs stated in our last post about the ProjectieLAB we wanted to investigate the possibility to interact with the 3D objects that are projected. The interaction in the last setup we did with the Virtools object was already there through a mouse and keyboard, but being the research groups interest to actually perform with this technology we looked for a device with which a performer can stand in front of the projection instead of behind a computer. Also it is important to have a relationship between the interaction movement of the performer and the resulting response of the object.

http://www.osculator.net/wiki/Main/FAQFor quick result purposes we decided to start testing with the WII-mote form the Nintendo WII gameconsole. This, in fact, is a very powerful controller that can monitor movement in all three axises and has numerous buttons and functions. Also the WII-mote can be connected to your computer through Bluetooth. If we would make a similar device through the custom soldering of sensors and such we would probably pay more and need a lot of time.

IMG_7788.jpgFirst step is to get the WII-mote connected to the computer through Bluetooth. Depending on the drivers that come with your Bluetooth device inside your computer it can be quite a hassle to actually recognize the WII-mote. Not being the first ones to try to actually do this the internet is full with articles that give advice how to do this. Have a look at http://wiihacks.blogspot.com/ (especially here) or http://www.wiili.org/ for examples on how to connect and what to do.

In our 1st evening we used Virtools as our 3D developing environment because of its usability. On the Virtools forum called SwapMeet we found an post where ‘cbwan’ stated to have linked a WII-mote to a Virtools object. This guy, who’s name actually is Sébastien “Cb” Kuntz, has a blog of is own called ‘A VR Geek Blog‘. Try looking for the WIImote tag and download there the Pie script for the tilt/roll and the CMO. To summerize he builded a Virtools setup that uses at its basis the Joystick waiter Building Block. So nothing too special about the Virtools side, although the .CMO from this guy does a lot of interpretative calculation! Before we can break our minds however over interpreting the stream of data coming from the WII-mote we first need to make some steps to translate the raw dataflow through Bluetooth into data that is mapped to a virtual Joystick on the computer.

For this you need two programs:
1) GlovePIE by Carl Kenner, which you can download here.
2) PPJoy by Deon van der Westhuysen, which you can download here.

IMG_7789.jpgAfter installing these programs you need to do the following:
1) Connect the WII-mote to the PC through Bluetooth.
2) Start GlovePIE (at the time of writing we’re using version 0.29). If you want you can use the WII-mote calibration first under [CP-settings]
3) Open the PIE script that you have downloaded.
IMG_7790.jpg 4) Now run the script. When you move the WII-mote you should see some numbers change in the debug dialog.
5) Now run PPJoy and install a new virtual Joystick. It is posdsible that you need to check what com port is used and how the data is mapped.
6)Now run Virtools and open de CMO that you have downloaded. Fill in the right port at the Joystick waiter BB.
7) Run the script and voila, the dart is rotating and pitching in sync with your WII-mote!

IMG_7799.jpgThis setup gives you a good first glimpse on the possibilities. As we are researching combining real-time 3D stereoscopic images with interaction possibilities through a reasonably simple interface this setup is a good startup for further testing and plans. Although it is of course not optimal to have three programs running to get the WII-mote data to rotate an object in 3D in real-time the latency seemed to be pretty low. Also, this setup is reasonably fast to set up and test with and hardly needs any technical skills and is thus accessible for more creative people to try.

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