×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

The Wii's MEMS Inventor on Future Technology

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the wii-wii-wii-all-the-way-to-the-bank dept.

Wii 118

eldavojohn writes "IEEE Spectrum is running an article on the inventor of the motion sensor that the Wii uses. The microelectromechanical system (MEMS) gives Wii its core ability to sense motion in the controller. What's really interesting is where Benedetto Vigna wants to take this technology. He has plans to make the sensor smaller and tougher, and hope to place it inside of things like shoes, textiles, and medical devices to aid in data collection. He continues, 'Then I want to make a three-dimensional gyroscope, to measure rotation around three different axes. Today, such products are quite big, a cube 10 centimeters on a side. We want to do this in less than a 30-millimeter cube, to serve as an image stabilizer in cameras and to track a person's position in the intervals when he can't get a GPS signal.'"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

118 comments

Mneh (0, Offtopic)

Helen Keller (842669) | more than 7 years ago | (#18213290)

WhatMNNNGis lighNNNNNNNt, mnnnnginsenstCLOD!

Re:Mneh (1)

Yr0 (224662) | more than 7 years ago | (#18214450)

I whole heartedly concur with the above posting.
Not only is it concise, witty, erudite and topical, but it is written wit style.

If only slashdot had more of these. Then moderation could be banished.

also

FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK! YOU ANUS GAPING SHIT MORONS!

Re:Mneh (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18214570)

Hey! Show some respect! That's MR. anus gaping shit moron to YOU!

No Thanks (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18213328)

Having used the Wiimote for a couple months now I am definitely not looking forward to any other devices using similar technology. The Wiimote is very laggy and fin control is sorely lacking with the device. For simple party games it is no big deal because you are usually rapidly flailing your arms around, but for real games the inconsistencies of the Wiimote are frustrating.

Re:No Thanks (1)

ChaosWeevil (1004221) | more than 7 years ago | (#18213788)

You must have a defective one or something. I've had mine since launch, and after adjusting the sensitivity on it, it was great. The only times I've had it act up is if the batteries are nearly dead or someone screwed with the sensitivity setting(s).

Re:No Thanks (2, Informative)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#18213950)

The most frustrating example of this is the final putt on the golf course, the one which is about a metre away and you need minimum power.
You find yourself doing some random body shake to try to get it registering.

Half the time this ends up with the ball fucking off half a mile away and landing in the pond.

Re:No Thanks (2, Informative)

crazed gremlin (978591) | more than 7 years ago | (#18214272)

you need to hold it so the left side of the wiimote faces the sensor bar...I had the same problem until my friend enlightened me.

Re:No Thanks (1)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 7 years ago | (#18214400)

you need to hold it so the left side of the wiimote faces the sensor bar...I had the same problem until my friend enlightened me.
Say what? The relation of wiimote to sensor bar matters not one bit - it's only registering motion once you're out on the links. This goes for all of the Wii Sports games. Now that I think about it, you may be saying to hold the wiimote so that when you swing your arm, the left side of the wiimote swings forward (as opposed to say, bowling, where the top swings forward). If this is the case, you are correct.

Even so, putting is rather finicky. Friends and I have found that the best way to make putts is to start your forward swing very slowly and (slowly!) increase your speed until the power bar moves up to where you want it, and stop. Avoid a sudden stop at the end of your swing, though, because that'll make the bar jump something fierce.

Re:No Thanks (2, Informative)

denebola (868771) | more than 7 years ago | (#18214822)

Personally, I find the easiest way to make the short putts is to reach a threshold speed but increase the angular movement. Not like a real put which has fairly small angle. I use ~40 degrees with a slowish acceleration.

HTH.

How to make slow puts (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 7 years ago | (#18215992)

Follow through with the slow put until the remote registers it. It's entirely possible to hit very, very slow puts if you just follow through and don't stop in the middle.

Re:No Thanks (3, Interesting)

Greg.Rodden (853800) | more than 7 years ago | (#18214488)

I've developed a way to get a perfect golf drive every time out of the Wiimote.

Sit down in your couch with the Wiimote in your hand just above your shoulder and next to your ear.
The IR should point toward the back wall not quite square. Swing the Wiimote STRAIGHT down to your thigh without changing your wrist angle. as long as you don't angle the Wiimote down with your wrist you can pretty much swing as hard as you want and you won't over swing.

Works for me everytime.

snicker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18213338)

... gives Wii its core ability to sense motion... Vigna wants to take this technology.

Heh

Nintendo In Hype Overdrive (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18213392)

Nintendo must really be in a panic over the almost barren Wii release list for 2007. The Wii reminds me of that old saying "When you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail". Since the controller is the only thing of interest in the Wii, Nintendo appears to be in hype overdrive. Wii controller helping weight losss, Wii controller bringing joy to old folks home, Wii controller rescues kitten from tree, Wii controller caught on video with Paris Hilton.

Hey Nintendo, how about releasing some games for your system so you don't have to work your PR/marketing folks to death cranking out the controller hype?

Ballmer, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18213560)

is that you?

Yeah because printing money is old. (2, Insightful)

kinglink (195330) | more than 7 years ago | (#18214370)

Let's see, DS Lite almost always sold out in Japan. America has a low amount of handhelds that stay on the shelf. Wii is impossible to find in both countries with out a LONG wait outside.

Yeah, they should produce more games because the hype about the system and the titles they already have released and are releasing this year are a amazing. Barren? OH that's right when you compare it to the 360 or Ps3 it's.... wait it's still not barren it just has a lot less of the average crap on it. Yet the games that came out so far are really impressive.

Hmm yeah, Nintendo let's see you crank out the million of lackluster titles the other guys are producing, because I sure rather have a huge boat load of games that all play the same than innovative gameplay. It's obvious your console and handheld isn't already selling on it's own. Come on.

Re:Yeah because printing money is old. (-1, Troll)

smaddox (928261) | more than 7 years ago | (#18214904)

Yeah, wii sports was fun... for a few days.

Honestly the content is just too limited. For instance, compare the tennis game to mario tennis for the gamecube. Mario tennis is orders of magnitudes more entertaining.

As for the other "really impressive" games. Red Steel sux (nearly impossible to aim), Twilight Princess was a lackluster port (once again, controls are awkward), Monkey ball is horrible compared to the previous version for gamecube, and Wario Ware was the most ridiculously pointless and boring game I have ever had the misfortune to play.

All in all, the Wii is just another gimmick, and the good games are the ones that are similar, and yet not as good, as their gamecube counterparts.

Re:Nintendo In Hype Overdrive (3, Funny)

Nataku564 (668188) | more than 7 years ago | (#18214544)

IIRC, Mario Party comes out this week. That will cause a significant disruption in the american economy, as droves of people stay home and play with their Wiis. Nintendo must space such releases out, in order to safeguard our nation.

Re:Nintendo In Hype Overdrive (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18214800)

Yeah, Mario Party...that really made those GameCubes fly off the shelves last gen. Man, I remember a major disruption in the economy as people stayed home to play the game instead of going to work...

Oh wait, that was Nintendo fantasyland! Never-mind.

Re:Nintendo In Hype Overdrive (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 7 years ago | (#18215998)

Wow, what are you, the fucking Grinch? It was a joke, laugh. Besides, Mario Party is a really fun game, and we've already planned parties to play it once it comes out over here in Europe.

Position tracking? (2, Insightful)

wamatt (782485) | more than 7 years ago | (#18213394)

How could it be used to track position? I thought the MEMS inside the WII Controller needed constant calibration with the main unit. If you walking around in the forest what is your fixed frame of reference?

Re:Position tracking? (4, Informative)

aweinert (969529) | more than 7 years ago | (#18213448)

GPS for gross location, MEM gyroscope for tracking small changes in velocity, position, orientation, etc., and when GPS fails.

Your previous position. (5, Interesting)

pavon (30274) | more than 7 years ago | (#18213514)

It is integrating your velocity to estimate where you are between GPS solutions. Navigation and guidance systems for high velocity (read military) devices do this already out of necessity. However, it would also be useful for low velocity situations where you have a spotty GPS signal. In that situation it doesn't have to be perfect to be usefull, especially if the display indicated the approximate error in the estimation by drawing a circle for your position rather than a dot.
 

Clarifiation. (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 7 years ago | (#18213696)

Before someone catches me on this, MEMs devices like this measure acceleration, not velocity like my previous post implied. Same priciple though, just have to integrate twice. The 6-axis part is important as measuring your rotation in addtion to linear acceleration enables you to keep track of what direction you are pointed.

Re:Clarifiation. (4, Informative)

smallfries (601545) | more than 7 years ago | (#18214284)

The principle is the same although the practice is different. Each integration accumulates error, so adding the extra layer degrades the performance.

These ideas aren't new and have been knocking around for a while. The article sounds a little like hype / ego-wanking, but then again IEEE Spectrum articles normally are. There is a ton of work on "sensor fusion". The basic idea is to take several low-grade position sources and then fuse them together to create a (hopefully) high-accuracy position source. The robotics and wearables communities have been looking at this for many years. One nice approach is combinng the sensor inputs in a Kalman filter which does actually create a higher accuracy signal than any individual source.

As far as the claims about 3d gyroscopes being the next big thing when they are reduced in size - we saw a demo of a commerically available product about two years ago. It is a 1cm cube that intergrates several accelerometers and gyroscopes to provide a dead-reckoning position source that is accurate to within 5cm. It was very impressive, although the cube cost several thousand pounds. It would be pretty amazing to see Nintendo pick up on something like that.

Re:Your previous position. (1)

not-enough-info (526586) | more than 7 years ago | (#18213768)

Toyota Priuses (Prii?) and many other cars do dead reckoning in their onboard GPS systems already. (to varying degrees of success might I add)

Re:Your previous position. (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 7 years ago | (#18214218)

Toyota priuses are constrained to motion in one dimension: forward/backward in the direction the wheels happen to be pointed in. and at the speed the wheels happen to be turning. There is no need for accelerometer for rudimentary dead reckoning in one, but airplanes and even hikers would have a use for it.

But there is a MEMS accelerometer in a Prius. Without it, the side-impact airbags would be impossible, and the regular airbags would be dangerous.

Re:Your previous position. (1)

Proofof. Chaos (1067060) | more than 7 years ago | (#18215058)

Yeah, its called navigation by dead-reckoning, Navigators used it all the time before GPS, when they could only calculate their exact position every few minutes, hours, or days. They use all the info they do have like speed and direction to estimate where they are in relation to their last known location. This is why, ships in the old days would get lost if they had long periods of bad weather which prevented them from seeing the stars.

Digital Image Stabilizer (3, Interesting)

Checkmait (1062974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18213404)

Application of this could be interesting especially in places when a little bit of lag does not hurt anything. I have a hobby of photography and a good digital image stabilizer is would be the best thing since sliced bread.

Re:Digital Image Stabilizer (1)

Bistromat (209985) | more than 7 years ago | (#18213530)

There are plenty of lenses that are image-stabilized with gyros and moving lens elements. Look up the Panasonic Lumix series, or Canon's "IS" lenses.

Re:Digital Image Stabilizer (2, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#18213880)

There are plenty of lenses that are image-stabilized with gyros and moving lens elements. Look up the Panasonic Lumix series

http://www2.panasonic.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servle t/MegaOISExplained [panasonic.com]

Your comment seems to suggest that the removable lens itself has the stabilization.

My understanding is that the camera does the stabilization with an internal, movable lens & some fancy onboard processing.

Re:Digital Image Stabilizer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18214596)

You, sir, are uninformed.

The lens itself has the movable element, at least in the case of the canon IS series. There are also digital cameras with their own built in system as you describe, but all the pro-level IS gear is stabilized in the lens. You can use an image stabilized lens on cameras which were manufactured before anybody dreamed such a thing was possible.

Re:Digital Image Stabilizer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18215290)

Does the lens have its own batteries to power the gyro?

Re:Digital Image Stabilizer (1)

TheVoice900 (467327) | more than 7 years ago | (#18215896)

In the case of Canon and Nikon, their IS (Image Stabilizer) and VR (Vibration Reduction) lens, draw power from the main camera body through electrical contacts in the lens mount. I don't shoot Nikon, but at least with Canon you can still get hundreds of shots off one charge when using an IS lens.

Re:Digital Image Stabilizer (1)

Bistromat (209985) | more than 7 years ago | (#18215238)

Incorrect. The lens itself does the stabilizing, with accelerometers and a movable lens element. Linear ultrasonic motors shift the lens in the X and Y axes, effectively shifting the center of field.

Re:Digital Image Stabilizer (1)

cheftw (996831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18213532)

Mod parent down, if you RTFA you'll realise that this is NOT a viable application of the technology, even if you have "a hobby of photograpy".

Snake oil technology warning (4, Interesting)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 7 years ago | (#18213928)

Application of this could be interesting especially in places when a little bit of lag does not hurt anything. I have a hobby of photography and a good digital image stabilizer is would be the best thing since sliced bread.

Please stop spreading the myth that "digital image stabilization" is a valid technology. It's nothing but snake oil by digital camera companies desperate to compete in a flooded market, and an attempt to trick consumers who don't know better (and screw with the results presented by "product selectors".)

REAL image stabilization uses a servoed prism inside the lens; the image is optically stabilized by sensing movement and adjusting the prism to correct. Current systems from Canon can compensate between 2 and 3 stops; dunno about Nikon's, but it is probably about the same. The systems work gloriously well, though they only compensate for movement of the LENS, not movement of the subject. A slow exposure will still be a slow exposure; if the subject is waving, their hand is going to be blurry. There's no substitute for light, sensor sensitivity (and low noise at high sensitivity), and maximum aperture (how "fast" the lens is. Smaller f-stop numbers are wider, and hence faster.)

FAKE "image stabilization", which Olympus (among others) are pushing- it only cranks up the sensitivity of the sensor to shorten exposure time. This only results in shorter exposures- and a LOT more noise, especially since most consumer cameras have tiny little sensors (the smaller each sensor pixel, the less light it collects, and the more it needs to be electrically amplified.) You can do this on *any* digital camera with adjustable ISO!

Re:Snake oil technology warning (1)

Checkmait (1062974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18214202)

Please stop spreading the myth that "digital image stabilization" is a valid technology... REAL image stabilization uses a servoed prism inside the lens

First of all, you are contradicting yourself.

I might point out that when I refer to "digital image stabilization," I refer to digital image stabilization using sensors in the camera, not decreasing exposure time or correcting for subject movement. These are entirely different, and plus I have not named any specific companies (unlike you) and judged their products which are advertised to offer "digital image stabilization." Even you are admitting the technology is valid by saying that Canon uses it.

The Wii motion sensor (if its lag is improved), well-adapted, would produce an excellent motion sensor much more responsive and better than current technology.

Re:Snake oil technology warning (2, Interesting)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 7 years ago | (#18214524)

The Wii motion sensor (if its lag is improved), well-adapted, would produce an excellent motion sensor much more responsive and better than current technology.

Current technology ALREADY DOES, and it does it precisely enough to allow THREE STOPS OF SLOWER EXPOSURE SPEED. I have a lens in my camera bag made a couple years ago that has MEMS sensors in it.

Just because you first heard about MEMS in the Wii remote's sesors doesn't mean the military, commercial, and consumer electronics sectors haven't been using the technology for years in accelerometers (or accelerometers dedicated to orientation-sensing), gyroscopes, pressure/temperature/humidity sensors, etc. Remote control helicopter autopilot systems, UAVs, missiles, etc use inertial nav units (of varying complexity) made up of accelerometer/gyro MEMS sensors. MEMS technology accelerometers are in almost every car on the road with airbags. MEMS is used to make orientation sensors (using gravity). Pressure sensors in laundry machines. They're everywhere.

The arrogance on this site never ceases to amaze me, especially since most posters seem to have a very narrow personal knowledge base.

Re:Snake oil technology warning (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18215124)

The difference being whether it is all electronic or partly mechanical/optical.

I really haven't heard of a circumstance where good "electronic image stabilization" (also known as EIS, non-optical stabilization) surpasses good optical image stabilization (OIS). Another partly mechanical system that hasn't been surpassed by an electronic system is gyroscope, the best mechanical gyros have a lot less drift than an electronic gyro, at least according to an EE/aviation guy that I know. This MEMS system will simply be a continuation of this, just that the mechanical parts are smaller. It may be an improvement while giving the perception of being non-mechanical. Micro electromechanical devices are often small enough that what is known about fatigue is different vs larger mechanical devices. DLPs are electromechanical but they have lifetimes that are comparable to purely electronic devices.

Re:Digital Image Stabilizer (1)

DittoBox (978894) | more than 7 years ago | (#18214240)

Absolutely. Adding Image Stabilization to a lens usually doubles its value, anything that makes it cheaper is all good in my book.

Image stabilization reduces or removes the effect of camera shake when using longer exposure times. One can get 1 or 2 full f/stops of light out of a lens by using Image Stabilization. If you take a photo at anything under 1/30 of a second with a short (under 90mm focal length) lens you can expect some amount of camera shake while shooting hand held. Image Stabilization will allow you to shoot a little slower and lets you stop down your lens to produce a sharper image.

You see Image Stabilization on longer (telephoto) lenses usually because the higher the magnification will magnify the effect of a moving flim/sensor plane (EG camera).

IS works by hooking a couple of gyros into a computer on the lens. This computer then uses various algorithms to predict the small movements of the lens. This then moves around an interior element of the lens to compensate for the shake. In camera stabilization works in much the same way, except it moves the sensor itself rather than a corrective lens element.

Re:Digital Image Stabilizer (2, Funny)

Proofof. Chaos (1067060) | more than 7 years ago | (#18215118)

Comes in real handy if you are usually drunk when you use your camera. If only they made a camera that would refuse to take pictures that you will regret the next day.

This is cool, very cool... (4, Informative)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#18213414)

I have not played with a Wii yet, but knowing something about robotics I can say that if they manage to get a 3D sensor set working, and cheaply, it will advance a gazillion projects. Knowing how and when to place mechanical effectors and movement of devices is a terribly difficult problem generally. This type of sensor will help do that very effectively.

This can be used in conjunction with other sensor systems to do things like create a lawnmower robot that doesn't just wonder around till you turn it off. Being able to manage calculation of 3D space is very intensive, but doing so lets us get one step closer to the robot maid and other cartoon dreams of days gone by.

Its not just for games. Most of the semi-successful DARPA grand challenge vehicles used a similar device for navigation support. The reality of a car that drives you (in Soviet Russia) to work without any intervention from you is getting very close. Inertial navigation (AFAIK) relies on 3D motion tracking to determine the motion in between points of absolute (or relatively absolute) positioning data. So, in between GPS readings, inertial navigation estimates where the robot/car/vehicle is in relation to previous GPS readings. I've seen robots do this already, its just not cheap enough for everyone. A small R/C sized robot can travel 1/2 mile and return to its starting point with high accuracy despite obstacles using inertial navigation. This can be applied to a lot of systems.

Re:This is cool, very cool... (4, Interesting)

HappySqurriel (1010623) | more than 7 years ago | (#18213594)

I'm going to start by saying I know very little about robotics ...

I could see how something like this could be useful because (much like the inner ear for humans) a device like this could be used to aid in the balance of robots. I could be wrong but it seems like most robots are currently designed to "walk perfectly" a feat which escapes most people; how often have you stubbed your toe or tripped on a stair? If a robot knew that its "body" was no longer in balance it might be able to correct for the "mistake" before it falls and (in essence) no longer be required to "walk perfectly" in order to walk effectively.

Re:This is cool, very cool... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18213652)

Fucking fanboys. What the fuck does any of that have to do with the wiimote?

Re:This is cool, very cool... (2, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#18213704)

Despite your obvious lack of intelligence, I'll explain. If he goes on to develop the 3D Wiimote control sensor, it will make it very cheap to use in other systems. It takes huge volumes to make manufacturing some things become cheap. Right now, its cheaper to buy the Wii and hack it to get the sensor than it is to buy the sensor itself!

What it has to do with the Wii is that the Wii is creating advances, or rather making them available to other people cheaply.

Re:This is cool, very cool... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18213796)

"Despite your obvious lack of intelligence"

Coming from the guy who just typed out a rambling content-less post that has absolutely nothing to do with the actual comparative worth of the Wiimote technology to other existing solutions other than to throw out some of vaguely related applications and made them sound 'complicated' and needing Nintendo's 'amazing' new tech to come to the rescue.

Next before you run your mouth off fanboy make sure you have a fucking clue and aren't trying to lecture someone who writes software embedded devices currently navigating around Mars. No one who does serious robotics work is remotely interested in Nintendo's tech. Nintendo, don't call us, we'll call you.

Re:This is cool, very cool... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18213874)

How is the grand parent a fanboy when he said he didn't even play the Wii yet? You're trolling has gotten worse and worse Mr. Anonymous Sony Coward fanboy. Same goes with your other posts above criticizing the Wii games when this is not about the wii itself, but rather the motion sensoring technology in it.

Re:This is cool, very cool... (2, Informative)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 7 years ago | (#18214566)

You can buy the same part the wiimote uses for about 8 dollars from digikey. Or a better one. I don't know where you get your numbers from. It's not as cheap as Nintendo gets it, but if you're considering a serious deployment you should just ask for engineering samples. Intertial navigation just doesn't work. Sensors aren't perfect, so you lose some position that way, and you can only sample so fast, so any short variations can potentially be lost, or brief peaks extrapolated for much further than they really were. And even then, the ADC that samples the voltage isn't perfect, so more accuracy is lost there! Nintendo's own engineering team states this has been their experience, in an interview, which is why they have the sensor bar. It is not, as the article implies, only to gather the initial position of the tv relative to the wiimote. It's there because inertial navigation deviates over time. You can easily correct the deviations with say, a GPS device, or the sensor bar, though.

I don't understand why you're crediting the Wii with making the parts so cheap - it was STmicro that put together the factory, and STmicro was selling them cheaply before the Wii was huge.

Re:This is cool, very cool... (1)

jemecki (661581) | more than 7 years ago | (#18214078)

Sorry, but you ARE wrong -- robots don't need [honda.com] to "walk perfectly" right now.

Re:This is cool, very cool... (1)

s2jcpete (989386) | more than 7 years ago | (#18214326)

10 centimeters on a side isn't much of an issue for a robot maid, or a lawn mower.

Re:This is cool, very cool... (1)

przemekklosowski (448666) | more than 7 years ago | (#18214824)

if they manage to get a 3D sensor set working, and cheaply, it will advance a gazillion projects.
Wha? 2-axis MEMS single chip accelerometers have been around for years, and 3-axis units are $5 a pop: http://www.analog.com/en/prod/0,2877,ADXL330,00.ht ml [analog.com]. Dimensions are 4mm by 4mm by 1.5mm, moreless the size of the letter M. Of course the accelerometer does not directly give out a position; you have to filter the output, integrate for velocity and then integrate again for position. Not trivial, but doable.

SLR lenses already have this (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 7 years ago | (#18213554)

Re:SLR lenses already have this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18213692)

Yep.

This reminds me of those Apple stories where some technology that has been around for years shows up in an Apple product and it is hyped like it was the invention of the wheel. The Wii is amusing for a few nights with friends but that's about it. The novelty wears off real fast.

it's already here (1)

Bistromat (209985) | more than 7 years ago | (#18213556)

10cm on a side? The Analog Devices ADXRS150 is a relatively accurate MEMS gyro in 1cm x 1cm. Three of those give you a 3D gyro platform more than good enough for flight stabilization or image-stabilizing a camera. I've done both with them.

They aren't up on par with inertial-navigation-grade systems using fiber-optic gyros, so their drift tends to make them unusable for long-term navigation. You wouldn't fly a cruise missile or an ICBM on them. But for sensing motion, or for aiding navigation in conjunction with accelerometers or a GPS, they're just fine. And they're available now.

Some links to the datasheets (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18213912)

Links to the Analog Devices pages:

Accelerometers:
http://www.analog.com/en/subCat/0,2879,764%255F800 %255F0%255F%255F0%255F,00.html [analog.com]
(Mostly 1 or 2 axis; the only 3-axis one is the one used in the Wii. It costs $5.45.)

Gyroscopes:
http://www.analog.com/en/subCat/0,2879,764%255F801 %255F0%255F%255F0%255F,00.html [analog.com]
(All available parts are 1 axis. Costs from $30.)

Here's the fun stuff. This not-yet-available part:
http://www.analog.com/en/prod/0%2C2877%2CADIS16350 %2C00.html [analog.com]
combines a 3-axis gyro with a 3-axis accelerometer, and is close to what the author is referring to; it's a cube about 23mm on each side. It looks like a great product, if the price is right.

Re:it's already here (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18214214)

They aren't up on par with inertial-navigation-grade systems using fiber-optic gyros, so their drift tends to make them unusable for long-term navigation. You wouldn't fly a cruise missile or an ICBM on them.
I worked on the inertial sensor designs for the US's strategic grade guidance systems at Draper Laboratory. We only use MEMS, no fiber optic stuff. Same technology that is in the Wii except much more accurate.

RC Helicopter Gyros (0, Offtopic)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#18213580)

are very small. That is why miniature helicopters suddenly became popular. Certainly not 10cm on a side anymore.

he majored in marketing (0, Troll)

goarilla (908067) | more than 7 years ago | (#18213598)

Today, such products are quite big, a cube 10 centimeters on a side. We want to do this in less than a 30-millimeter cube, to serve as an image stabilizer
he majored in marketing alright, it's really obvious since
for most people a 30 mm cube vs a 10 cm cube must be like a 1:1000 comparison
although roughly it's only 3 times as small

Re:he majored in marketing (1)

bjourne (1034822) | more than 7 years ago | (#18213666)

he majored in marketing alright, it's really obvious since for most people a 30 mm cube vs a 10 cm cube must be like a 1:1000 comparison although roughly it's only 3 times as small

... and you did not major in mathematics. :)

Re:he majored in marketing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18213962)

It's less than 1/9 of the volume.

Re:he majored in marketing (1)

Z0mb1eman (629653) | more than 7 years ago | (#18214110)

It's less than 1/9 of the volume.

Almost there...

I think it will be successful! (1)

raghu.ganti (1070808) | more than 7 years ago | (#18213626)

I have been working on identifying activities (with some success :-) ) of humans using accelerometers placed in clothing, so I believe that the vision of Vigna is something that is quite realizable! I hope to see this technology successful...

Re:I think it will be successful! (1)

Garrett Fox (970174) | more than 7 years ago | (#18215860)

Some of us would rather not have our own clothing reporting our location and activities elsewhere!

It's been done (3, Interesting)

inviolet (797804) | more than 7 years ago | (#18213668)

He continues, 'Then I want to make a three-dimensional gyroscope, to measure rotation around three different axes. Today, such products are quite big, a cube 10 centimeters on a side. We want to do this in less than a 30-millimeter cube [...]

Someone should tell him about the solid-state gyros already in use in aircraft instruments. Six years ago at Oshkosh I played with an all-electronic artificial horizon instrument. IIRC, it uses those funky crystals which exhibit piezo-type effects when rotated in space. The entire unit, including LCD, CPU, power supply, backup battery, and of course the three solid-state gyros, was a cylinder about 3"x3"x12".

Even in its infancy, the device was massively, hilariously more reliable than the steam-powered mechanical gyros that are currently standard fare for General Aviation.

And that was six years ago.

All this time, I've been thinking (quite wrongly) that the Wii's controller used these same devices.

Re:It's been done (1)

raghu.ganti (1070808) | more than 7 years ago | (#18213730)

Hmmm... yes, I think you have a point. The motes developed @ UC-Berkeley have honeywell accelerometers installed on them that are pretty small (abt 1cmx1cm). Although, they are 2-dimensional. But, honeywell has a plethora of these devices on their website, so I think that there is a hullabaloo about something that is already existent. Nevertheless, I would like to see these devices being used in our daily lives!

Re:It's been done (1)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 7 years ago | (#18214604)

The motes done by crossbow that I've seen all use STmicro accels. They're 2d but we went and sourced a 3d version rather than try to do the math on a pair of 2d guys.

Re:It's been done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18214774)

Well, I know of a mote developed @ Harvard that has a 3-d accelerometer on it. Yeah, it is a pain to work with the 2ds sometimes, but I am not a hardware person, so I prefer off-the-shelf products and put up with the 2ds...

Re:It's been done (1)

daveisfera (832409) | more than 7 years ago | (#18214232)

Ya, it's been done by TONS of people. Pretty much any small UAV has exactly what he's talking about. You'd think that a guy that was so involved with the technology would already know what's out there.

No it hasn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18214914)

The entire unit, including LCD, CPU, power supply, backup battery, and of course the three solid-state gyros, was a cylinder about 3"x3"x12"

That's around a 100 times more volume than the 30 mm cube.

Re:It's been done (1)

sholden (12227) | more than 7 years ago | (#18215644)

Someone should tell him about the solid-state gyros already in use in aircraft instruments. Six years ago at Oshkosh I played with an all-electronic artificial horizon instrument. IIRC, it uses those funky crystals which exhibit piezo-type effects when rotated in space. The entire unit, including LCD, CPU, power supply, backup battery, and of course the three solid-state gyros, was a cylinder about 3"x3"x12".


So about 75% larger than the product described by: "Today, such products are quite big, a cube 10 centimeters on a side"...

Magneto-Inductive is the way to go (1)

Mechanized Elf (682620) | more than 7 years ago | (#18215922)

Integrated with a magneto-inductive device instead of a mini-gyro, the MEMS device becomes a dead-reckoner for orientation and movement. The combined device then gets OEM'd to all sorts of new input devices.

already done (4, Informative)

jimmydevice (699057) | more than 7 years ago | (#18213716)

The Crista Inertial Measurement Unit is a very small three axis inertial sensor that provides high resolution digital rate and acceleration data via serial interfaces. It uses MEMS gyroscopic rate sensors and accelerometers mounted on orthogonal axes to provide 300 /sec rate and 10G acceleration data. Small (2" x 1.5" x 1", 37g ) http://www.cloudcaptech.com/crista_imu.htm [cloudcaptech.com]

"Gyration" gyroscopic mouse uses a 15mm cube gyro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18213798)

I have a Gyration gyroscopic mouse. It is a great piece of kit, great for controlling the mouse pointer on a projection screen when you're giving a demo of something on a projector and want to be free from having to move a mouse around on a desk. The accuracy is really impressive, much better than I was expecting it to be.

Unlike the accelerometers in the Wii, this gyro detects rotation, which is much closer to what you want for a pointing application. I think it's giving you what you get from the Wii's IR "sensor bar" thing.

I haven't entirely dismantled it yet - I removed some screws but there must have been something else holding it together that I couldn't see. Anyway, I could see a metal can about 15x15x15 mm. It is also just about possible to hear a high-frequency buzz if you hold it to your ear.

google(gyration mouse) for more info.

This could be great for other toys... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18213822)

Now imagine if they could make the positioning accelerometers small enough for something like a PicooZ/Havoc, Helix, or Micro Mosquito. Then they could make 'em self stabilizing and able to hold position, and you could fly without constantly adjusting/trimming. Of course some people think the constant small adjustments are part of the fun, but with micro-stabilization one could make toys go exactly where you want them to without any practice.

Who knows, maybe one day there'll be a living-room-safe (as in small enough to only nerf off of anyting breakable) 3D capable helicopter. Although I got to admit that a simple 2-channel one exists now is pretty remarkable. (And fun for freaking out the cat.)

Already there (3, Informative)

truckaxle (883149) | more than 7 years ago | (#18213870)

FTA "Then I want to make a three-dimensional gyroscope, to measure rotation around three different axes. Today, such products are quite big, a cube 10 centimeters on a side."

There are such devices now that are compact and capable, such as...

http://www.microstrain.com/3dm-gx1_specs.aspx [microstrain.com]

I worked with this device last summer implementing a vehicle flight path recorder. It not only has 3 rate gyro's but three 5 mG accelerometers, a compass and processor that implements navigational processing and outputs earth-frame quantities via a serial connection.

Size: 42 x 40 x 15 mm

Re:Already there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18214944)

He wants to know absolute rotation and not rotational rate, the first is hard and the latter is trivial.

I wonder... (2, Insightful)

Mex (191941) | more than 7 years ago | (#18213886)

Since they are always imagining "interesting" uses for new technology, I wonder how the porn industry will implement this technology?

There's already adult websites made exclusively for Wii navegation...

Cheap IMUs available at SparkFun (1)

Thagg (9904) | more than 7 years ago | (#18214062)

Check these out. [sparkfun.com] Full six-axis IMUs for just a very few hundred dollars.

I about wet my pants when I saw these. The last time I had checked, a few years ago, solid-state gyros (from Systron Donner, maker of the GyroChip line) were $1000 apiece.

Thad Beier

10 centimeters! (4, Informative)

arsenix (19636) | more than 7 years ago | (#18214278)


This guy needs to spend 5 minutes googling for IMUs (intertial measurement units).

For instance, this unit:
http://www.memsense.com/products/mag3.asp [memsense.com]

There are a million of these out there...

Has three axes of accelerometers, three axes of rate gyros and a three axis magnetometer... all in a package that is .7"x.7"x.4".

MEMS gyroscopes are available now; $20, size: 7mm (1)

viking80 (697716) | more than 7 years ago | (#18214390)

TFA: ...Today, such products are quite big, a cube 10 centimeters on a side. We want to do this in less than a 30-millimeter cube...

Not sure island they have been living on, but this was actually available in the end of the previous century.

Analog Devices and others have been selling the ADXRS150 http://www.analog.com/en/prod/0%2C2877%2CADXRS150% 2C00.html [analog.com] and many others for years.

memsic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18214442)


Memsic has a solid state accelerometer, no moving parts, uses a hot air bubble.
A two axis unit is 5x5x2mm.
These are what is used to sense a free fall and part your hard drive heads on laptops.
No moving parts, but the tradeoff is the current for the micro heater.

Motion sensors not unique to Wii (4, Informative)

aero6dof (415422) | more than 7 years ago | (#18214602)

The motion sensors aren't the unique part of the Wii. Sony's controller has the equivalent motion sensors. The unique part of the Wii is the combination of the motion sensors with the IR bar tracking to give you a non-drifting reference.

By themselves, the motion sensors will get further and further off position. For example, if one turned right 90 degrees and then returned, the motion sensors by themselves would cause you to calculate a position not-quite matched up your original - and the more you move the more the reference will drift as measurement errors accumulate. With the IR bar, the reference can be corrected so the controller can stay oriented correctly vs the screen.

This is why Sony's controller is a very poor substitute for the Wii controller.

10cm Cube, Bull***t! (2, Interesting)

monopole (44023) | more than 7 years ago | (#18214644)

What utter bullshit!
Having personally developed and packed a six axis MEMS inertial sensor (x,y,z acceleration, roll, pitch, yaw rate of rotation)into a 25x25x13mm cube (With my bare hands!!)potted in epoxy, with a rubber lining and a kevlar reinforced cord, and run 2 of these units for several hours at kilohertz rates logging onto a SD card, I can attest that 30mm cube MEMS sensors already do exist and have existed for over 5 years. Hell you can buy them in quantities of one from sparkfun:
http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/categories.php?cP ath=23_85 [sparkfun.com]
(while the sparkfun units are 51x51x23mm thats because they're avoiding many layer multilayer boards and low pin count microprocessors)
Note that 3 axis compasses are readily available as well:
http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/categories.php?cP ath=23_83 [sparkfun.com]

Now the devil in the details. MEMS accelerometers are noisy, and so are the MEMS rate gyros. They're about as good as your inner ear which operates on somewhat similar principles. As a result they track reasonably well for short periods of time but exhibit considerable drift over longer periods of time, just like you can guess your path over a short distance but end up going in circles in total darkness. A compass helps, but they get scrambled by magnetic fields from electric currents or pieces of ferromagnetic material. Inertial sensors (other than missile grade units which are orders of magnitude more sensitive and complex) only complement GPS and other absolute measurement systems. That's why the Wii has the optical sensor integrated in it as well.

 

Re:10cm Cube, Bull***t! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18215536)

Ok, so you linked some mems costing HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS. The article talks about mems costing THREE DOLLARS. Not exactly apples and oranges you idiot.

smaller than 10x10 already done? (1)

yellowalienbaby (897469) | more than 7 years ago | (#18214708)

ok. I could be wrong, so enlighten me please. Fro the article he said he wanted to make _a_ 3 dimensional gyroscope very small. Now, all the posts here saying these things are already done smaller anyway, but listing the fact these products contain multiple gyro's / Xometer's / etc.. Is he saying he wants a single instrument to provide the measurements, as in a single gyro, not 3 or similar? or am I just plain wrong?

Different chips in wiimote and nunchuck (1)

JelloJoe (977764) | more than 7 years ago | (#18215000)

Analog Devices created the chip inside the Wiimote, and another company designed the chip inside the nunchuck. Notice the drastic difference between the two. The wiimote reacts much faster!

I had the same idea... (1)

ZackSchil (560462) | more than 7 years ago | (#18215036)

I'm doing my undergrad thesis on a high-speed autonomous vehicle that uses accelerometers to augment the refresh rate of GPS. I thought it was interesting that the article mentioned it so specifically.

Biophysics: Antennae as Gyroscopes (2, Informative)

dimeglio (456244) | more than 7 years ago | (#18215274)

Then I want to make a three-dimensional gyroscope


Benedetto Vigna should read this report http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/315 /5813/863 [sciencemag.org] about how moth are able to manuver so well in space. Their antennae are a small, very small device which does the job amazingly well. If first heard about this on Quirks and Quarks http://www.cbc.ca/quirks/media/2006-2007/mp3/qq-20 07-02-17d.mp3 [www.cbc.ca], a science radio programme.

To fly we observed how birds did it, then instead, built wings as used in airplanes today, instead of wings like birds have.

Now if only I could get my hands on a Wii...

Late to the game (1)

tonigonenstein (912347) | more than 7 years ago | (#18215692)

We want to do this in less than a 30-millimeter [on a side] cube, to serve as an image stabilizer in cameras and to track a person's position in the intervals when he can't get a GPS signal.
Maybe he should take a look at the 6mm x 10mm x 2.5mm NEC gyro (http://www.nec-tokin.com/english/product/piezodev ice2/ceramicgyro.html [nec-tokin.com]) or at the 7mm x 4.8mm x 3.2mm Analog Devices one (http://www.analog.com/UploadedFiles/Data_Sheets/A DXRS150.pdf [analog.com]). With both of these a 3 axis gyro fits in less than 10cm^3.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...