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Johnny Lee’s wiimote head tracking is even cooler

Posted on Sunday 30 December 2007

Johnny Lee‘s latest wiimote hack, tracking your head position and alternating a 3D display accordingly, is even cooler:

I installed the software and it gave me a “FishtankVR has encoundered a problem and needs to close” error, but that was fixed by installing the DirectX SDK.

I can get the program to work just by holding my two IR pens up to my head. I will admit it doesn’t look as good as on Johnny Lee’s video — the perspective adapts but doesn’t look as 3D. Part of the problem is my body casts a shadow in front of the projector screen and it’s harder to believe a projector screen is a window anyway. I’m also still tweaking the screen width and head width settings though.

I like how he says taping an IR sensor bar to a baseball hat is a “common trick.” 🙂 I also like how he says “if you’re a Nintendo Wii game developer, I wanna see some games.” I would have said, “if you’re a Nintendo Wii game developer, I want a million dollars.” I can’t believe he released this code for free.

It looks like similar head tracking technology for games has been around for a while — check out this demonstration of head tracking and movement amplification here: TrackIR Explained…but this is way cheaper (a wiimote costs $35 or so and you can make IR pens for $3).

2 Comments for 'Johnny Lee’s wiimote head tracking is even cooler'

    Eric Sherman
    January 6, 2008 | 7:23 pm


    I was trying out Johnny’s invention the other day, and the same error (FishtankVR) occured to me. I attempted to do the same as you by installing Microsoft DirectX SDK (April 2007), but it didn’t help. It’s so frustrating; I’m really eager to try the head tracking out myself. I’ve just got to ask you (I’m not very familiar with this kind of stuff): Was it enough for you to install SDK on your computer to get the VR working, or did you have to do anything else with it? I’d be really glad if you could tell me this.

    January 6, 2008 | 7:27 pm

    Hmm…Yeah, that’s all I did, installed the SDK linked from my blog. Are you still getting the same FishtankVR error? Did you reboot?
    It occurs to me that I recently installed the .NET framework for another project, don’t know if that would help or not.

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