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Candles work as IR emitters for Wiimote

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Working with Andy is always a pleasure.  Between the two of us, we can usually figure out a quick solution to a number of technical problems.  So I continue tinkering with the Wiimote tonight thinking of a quick IR hack, and he says "why not just try a couple candles instead?"

… and it worked quite beautifully.  The candles, when viewed by the Wiimote from an appropriate distance, emit enough infrared light to allow the sensor on the Wiimote to deduce its absolute angular motion.  So we have the accelerometers as one input, and the infrared sensor to provide "pointing" awareness.  When flying around in Second life, the accelerometers work very well, but when moving the mouse about to manipulate items in Second Life (or indeed anywhere in the OS,) the infrared is more comfortable.

So there you have it…  Light a couple candles.  You’ll have to play around with the separation distance of the candles as well as how far from them you sit, but it will work. You may find that the flickering of the candle makes the mouse pointer somewhat jumpy, but sit back a bit further and the effect will diminish.

When you’re up for it, take a look at this gent’s site to learn how you can hack together your own IR emitter bar.  A precision light source (compared to a candle,) will be much more reliable.

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