Flow Project Kickoff with Wiimote and IR LED

So, I’ve officially begun my sabbatical and with that comes the beginning of a new project I’m entitling “Flow.” In the next post, I’ll try to detail more of the planning, but for this one, let’s talk about what I made today.

Final IR LED assembly

Above, you’ll see the infrared (IR) LED contraption I’m making, which will eventually be mounted to a glove that I’ll be wearing while actually working on the project. The goal with this portion is to track the movements of my hand (the process of mark-making) — capturing the data for use in derivative pieces.

After seeing Johnny Chung Lee’s Wiimote Whiteboard project, I was driven to use the following components to accomplish my goal:

  • Nintendo Wiimote for IR LED tracking
  • AZiO BTD603-132 USB 2.0 BlueTooth Adapter, which uses the Toshiba Bluetooth stack — aparently the best for making the most of the Wiimote
  • Battery-powered IR LED mounted on my hand to represent the gestural motion
  • A Java-based library for capturing the IR LED point data (currently leaning toward WiiuseJ)

The final IR LED assembly (pre-glove-mounted) looks like this:

LED being assembled.

Now, I’ve never done anything with electronics, so this is my first encounter with a soldering iron, solder, resistors, ohms, amps, and volts. But, with some help from Instructables (check out LEDs for Beginners) and a current resisting calculator, things came together within an hour.

And here I am doing a goofy demo of what came of the afternoon:

  • http://meandmybadself.com Jeffery

    Color me interested. Neat work so far.

  • Ryan

    yo. as far as wiimote libs go, i’ve been using WiiRemoteJ. It’s _really_ finnicky about what wiimote it likes to connect to. seems to alternate between the 3 i have. getting it to detect the nunchaku is a real bonus too, when it decides to do that. so yeah wiiusej looks great, and it’s native code so maybe it won’t have the hardware issues. sadly tho, it’s windows and linux only.. no love for macs.

  • http://www.mikecreighton.com Mike Creighton

    @Jeff – Hopefully I’ll manage to keep your interest piqued through the holiday season.

    @Ryan – I’m not sold on any libraries just yet. I’m going to be running the software (whatever I use) off a Windows box since I’m using my Mac for the “real” work — and for my day-to-day computing needs. I’ll check out WiiRemoteJ, also. Thanks for the heads up. I’m going to go with anything that gives me events for the IR LED points and hooks up with Java in some way since the larger app will likely be a Processing app.

  • http://www.allisonqmccarthy.com aqm

    video is the way to go to document this stuff. looking forward to see this evolve, but it’s totally exciting to see it working at this preliminary stage.

  • Mukesh Amin

    Do you have a Radio shack part number for the IR LED? I couldn’t read it from the video.
    Thanks. I want to set this up with the whiteboard. using 4 ir led pens.
    Also do you know it the Azio Bluetooth will work with windows 7 and vista.

  • http://www.mikecreighton.com Mike Creighton

    I don’t have the part number on hand (no longer have the packaging for it). But Radio Shack only appears to carry one: High Output Infrared LED. Really, it’s more about having the right resistors in place so you don’t fry the LED.

    As for whether the AZiO Bluetooth device will work with Windows 7 / Vista: I can’t confirm personally, but if you look at the NewEgg.com reviews on the product, people seem to be having success. Moreover a quick Google search yields the AZiO drivers page for the device. Looks like there are both 32-bit and 64-bit versions for both Vista and Windows 7.