While the Wiimote is probably exceeding Nintendo's wildest expectations in terms of its popularity among gamers, the little controller that could has also developed quite a following in the modding community -- with the proper scripts, you can control anything from an RC car
to a Roomba
to a software drum kit
. Well now you can add research tool to the Wiimote's list of accomplishments, as scientists at the University of Western Australia have successfully employed it to navigate immersive 3D environments created by a projector and three-meter-diameter dome. By modifying the popular DarwiinRemote
OS X app, Paul Bourke and his colleagues at the University of Western Australia found themselves with a cheap tool to fly through space simulations, cruise around a visual representation of supercomputer node activity, and even tour 360 degree VR maps of real world buildings. The team concluded that the Wiimote is a good-but-not-great substitute for the controllers normally used in these simulations, but at a fraction of their cost, it opens up this method of data manipulation to a whole new world of users.