Optiputer Wii Head and Finger Tracking

The team:
John Murray Joshua Jacobson
Ryan Loebs Alex Mathew
John Peters Lincoln Thurlow

Executive Summary

Our project is to integrate Johnny Lee's research on using the Wiimote's IR camera to track the head position with a large 40-monitor opitputer. We will be addressing the variety of problems that occur in scale and system, including using multiple wiimotes to expand the field of view, using fingertip IR LEDs to track movement to allow rotation, scaling and panning around a 3D image, and of course creating a compelling demo to showcase the system.

The Optiputer

The Optiputer is located on the 5th floor of Baskin Engineering 2, and is described further on it's web site. We encountered a number of difficulties with libraries and drivers, ending up using a virtual machine to send the bluetooth data.

Past Work

The project has primarily been inspired by Johnny Lee's wii headtracking video, which swept YouTube a number of years ago. Lucky for us, since then people have ported his work to Linux and to other systems. There continues to this day a stream of both low-cost and high-end input devices and headtracking setups. Our goals were shunted primarily to input, as the Optiputer doesn't allow for close inspection with a mouse and keyboard. We also were interested in ways to explore 3D models and environments, while taking advantage of the affordances of the wiimotes IR tracking.

System

The system we built is comprised of four parts:
  1. Client-server model used for communication with bluetooth drivers on virtual machine
  2. Event-driven recognition of gestures, including zoom, click, move and rotate
  3. IR Gloves with magnetic reed switch, allowing activation of LEDs using just finger and thumb
  4. Solar System Demo which brings all the technologies together, switching between editing planets and navigating around a solar system simulation.

We used Steven T. Snyder's libraries that incorporate cwiid and bluez for communication with the wiimotes. We also used planet textures from Planet Texture Map Collection.

Future Work

Future work includes integrating input from the Kinnect, taking advantage of different authoring tools and exploring what other tasks can be done with simple gestures.