Integration of the Nintendo Wii Remote (Wiimote) with computers has been an innovation for open community developers as a video game device and beyond. The same qualities which have made the device popular among this community (i.e. cost, accessibility and open development) make it a powerful inexpensive interface device which can be used in virtual environments to support engineering analysis and design activities. Interface devices in engineering currently include data gloves, tactile input devices and high precision tracking systems which typically require significant financial investment. The Wiimote can be utilized to duplicate, at reduced, but in most cases acceptable standards, the combined capabilities of these traditional devices but at much lower cost. This paper presents background on the ongoing innovations of the open community of developers using the Wiimote and provides a knowledge base of the technology that can be applied to support various aspects of engineering. In addition various development approaches are discussed to provide potential developers with direction in their own Wiimote programming. As part of the method presentation, the implementation of the Wiimote at the New York State Center for Engineering Design and Industrial Innovation (NYSCEDII) is presented in terms of necessary hardware and software utilized to support interactive environments. The paper concludes with a presentation of current applications including the use of the Wiimote as a wireless input device for large system design exploration, a tracking system for head movement in dynamic simulations, visualization of consumer product interaction and tracking of an interactive Wii-glove. The applications represent initial development of what is expected to become a valuable tool for research and education in engineering.

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