During the week after handing in my first semester’s work, I’ve been playing around with the DIY Wiimote touch screen guide that I posted last month – all entirely based on the excellent work of Johnny Chung Lee, a Graduate PhD student in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University – I’ve been following his work and that of others on using the Wiimote touch interface with the intent of possibly incorporating it into my project.
In order enquire further into the possibilities, I decided to have a go at setting it up to assess it’s potentials as a far more interesting form of interaction (compared with the use of a conventional mouse) within the context of my sound and visual work. I got hold of a Wiimote and Bluetooth dongle fairly easily….the tricky part was making the infra red gadget that allows the Wiimote to track movement.
I basically made mine by taking apart an old infra red remote control unit, de-soldering the bits that I needed for use in the tracking device – I then very crudely rebuilt the parts into simple circuit containing the IR LED, a switch and a battery case.
From here, getting the whole lot to work together is fairly simple, I don’t know a lot….well, actually, I don’t know anything about coding in any of the MS Visual Suites but I managed to just install the parts that were required to run the open source .exe created by Johnny Chung Lee
He’s actually produced a really, really, really, useful whiteboard programme which allows most of the functions performed by a mouse, to be performed with the tracking device used in conjunction with the Wiimote. As such, I’ve been able to simply load up my Flash swf files and use them instantly with the new touch screen interface. There are some variations in the style of control but with a little work over the next few weeks, I’ll be able to develop and adapt my current projects to work with the touch screen interface, adding a whole new dimension to my work.
I have made some initial observations of this system so far that will have to be taken into consideration when developing future interactive work, as they ultimately affect the design of the interactivity
Evidently, there will be lots of things to consider during the design and development stages – all part of the fun though!
Number of tracking points –
The other exciting aspect of the Wiimote touch technology, and certainly an area which is being widely research and developed currently is the use of multi-touch interfaces (such as Jeff Han’s multi touch interface) – luckily in the case of the wiimote touch control, this is actually fairly easy – the wimote can track up to 4 points which is more than enough functionality to be playing with….the danger however is that although there are lots of points which could be used, there is the risk of over complicating the interaction and interface.
I do however think that it will be an interesting area to be explored…maybe the control of the environment could be assigned to one hand and the control of individual objects could be assigned to the other hand…?
I think that one of the greatest benefits of finding this system is that it gives me a really cheap and simple way of experimenting with the touch interface
– I can design, develop and demonstrate my work so far on a basic level and then, if what I develop outgrows the limitations of the Wii touch interface, I could move on to other systems without having had to invest much more at an earlier stage. – I’m sure that the interaction designs which I develop at this stage could also be developed for other touch interfaces in future.
Overall, I think that as always simplicity is key to good design. There are lots of really interesting potential ways in which this project could develop and I’m really looking forward to working on it over the next few months.
See the following links for more info and guidance on creating your own low-cost touch interface: