Tuesday, July 24, 2007
The Wii Nintendo. The console is th is the fifth home video game console released bye direct successor to the Nintendo GameCube. Nintendo states that its console targets a broader demographic than that of Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3,but it competes with both as part of the seventh generation of gaming systems.
A distinguishing feature of the console is its wireless controller, the Wii Remote, which can be used as a handheld pointing device and can detect motion and rotation in three dimensions. Another is WiiConnect24, which enables it to receive messages and updates over the Internet while in standby mode.
he Wii console is Nintendo's smallest home unit to date; it measures 44 mm (1.73 in) wide, 157 mm (6.18 in) tall, and 215.4 mm (8.48 in) deep in its vertical orientation.The included stand measures 55.4 mm (2.18 in) wide, 44 mm (1.73 in) tall, and 225.6 mm (8.88 in) deep, The system weighs 1.2 kg (2.7 lb),which makes it the lightest of the three major seventh generation consoles. The console can be placed either horizontally or vertically. Nintendo has shown the console and the Wii Remote in white, black, silver, lime green, and red, but has initially been available only in white.
The Wii launch package includes the console, a stand to allow the console to be placed vertically, a circular clear stabilizer for the main stand, one Wii Remote, one Nunchuk attachment, one Sensor Bar, a removable stand for the bar, one external main power adapter, two AA batteries, one composite AV cable with RCA connectors (component video and other types of cables are available separately), operation documentation, and a copy of Wii Sports.
The Wii Remote is a controller that uses a combination of accelerometers and infrared detection (from an array of LEDs inside the Sensor Bar) to sense its position in 3D space. This design allows users to control the game using physical gestures as well as traditional button presses. The controller connects to the console using Bluetooth, and features rumble and an internal speaker. The Wii Remote can connect to other devices through a proprietary port at the base of the controller. The device bundled with the Wii retail package is the Nunchuk unit, which features an accelerometer and a traditional analog stick with two trigger buttons. In addition, an attachable wrist strap can be used to prevent the player from unintentionally dropping or throwing the Wii Remote. In response to incidences of strap failures, Nintendo is offering a free stronger replacement for all straps.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Friday, July 06, 2007
Q&A: Holmwood On How In2Games Will Wii-ify 360 and PS3
This week's edition of Gamasutra's 'The Euro Vision' column sees Jon Jordan in a swinging mood, as he talks to Harry Holmwood of the UK's In2Games about out Wii-ing the Wii by bringing its forthcoming motion sensing Fusion controller to PS3 and the Xbox 360.
Harry Holmwood is a man who wants to bring real 'wave your arms in the air' gaming fun to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Neither vanilla dual analogue sticks nor SIXAXIS' six degrees of freedom are anything like enough for the director of innovative controller company In2Games.
Instead, what best explains the ambition of the UK outfit - currently in the process of refining its wireless Fusion product for release - is Holmwood's attitude to the current golden calf of fun game control, the Wiimote.
"Like Wii, Fusion has an accelerometer, but we also have ultrasonic X, Y, Z positioning that allows so much more flexibility and control. The Wii controller knows that it's moved, and as long as you're moving it slowly, it knows a bit about how it's being moved. But, when it's not being pointed at the screen, which is most of the time if you're making real-world movements, it has no idea whatsoever about where it is," he scolds.
And isn't not just him and his fellow In2Games execs who thinks like this either. They've raised up to £7.76 million ($15.5 million) from investment company Ingenious Media Active Capital to make their dream - better-than-Wii game control for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 - into reality.
The story of In2Games begins with a more bulky approach to setting gamers free however.
A Wired, Wired World
Launched in Europe in 2004, Gametrak was a 3D motion sensing controller that worked by tracking the position of your hands. You had to attach your hands to cords connected to the main controller unit in order for it to work however; something which Holmwood admits limited its appeal.
"While it was an incredibly clever and accurate piece of kit, it had a bit of an image problem," he agrees. "Being physically connected to the device via the Trak Cables looked a little clunky and definitely put some people off."
Another issue was the size of In2Games itself. Although well connected - Holmwood had been involved in a string of game-related ventures, while MD Elliott Myers previously worked on Europe's biggest thirdparty peripherals brand Gamester - it didn't have much cash, either for marketing or to develop the specialised games that used the technology. In the end, only three Gametrak titles were released.
"Gametrak was launched on an incredibly small budget, raised from a handful of friends and family who had the belief we really could deliver something new," Holmwood says.
But it's wasn't all bad news. The commercial bright spot for Gametrak was the success of its Real World Golf games, which sold around 300,000 units. Swinging a golf club, even attached with cords, seemed to be something people, even those who wouldn't call themselves gamers, could relate to.
So armed with this findings, wires bad, sports good, In2Games prepared for its next piece of technology, Fusion.
Swing Like You’re Winning
Built around a combination of ultrasonic and radio frequency technology that tracks player movement, as well as 3-axis accelerometers mounted in the main controller, the unique selling point of Fusion is that it enables you to track the absolute position and orientation in 3D space of the controller. Designed in a wand or baton-style configuration, it can be fitted with clip-on heads such as golf clubs, baseball bats, and tennis racquets. Standalone peripherals are also being planned. In2Games has demonstrated a bowling ball peripheral, for example.
And with the finance now in place, Holmwood says it's the right place, right time to satisfy In2Game's global ambitions. It already has offices in the UK and Hong Kong, plus the requisite Chinese factory, and will be setting up a North American office in the coming months. “We're already talking to a large number of distribution and publishing partners for the North American market,” Holmwood says. “We see North America as being equally important to us as Europe.”
Fusion's pricing and launch details remain to be announced however.
"If you consider the success of Wii, combined with the likes of Guitar Hero and European phenomenon that is SingStar, it's clear consumers are loving the more interactive, party-type gaming that new control systems can allow," he says.
"Thanks to our experience with Gametrak, we've built up great relationships with retailers, distributors, developers and format holders. We have the finance to create a whole host of games ourselves but, more importantly, we have publishers knocking on our doors wanting to integrate Fusion support into their titles too."
Indeed, even with its warchest, the success of Fusion is likely to be measured by the number of traditional publishers who decide to get onboard with the technology.
"By supporting Fusion in PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 titles, publishers can bring the very best motion sensing titles to those platforms," Holmwood argues. "Because Fusion is a true motion capture device, delivering absolute X, Y, Z positions in 3D space, rather than just using a tilt sensor to give some vague motion sensing capability, it can be used to create much more precise control leading, in turn, to games with real depth of play and player progression."
Out Wiiing The Wiimote
Of course, one obstacle to such widespread adoption will be the speed at which In2Games can create a commercially-viable install base for the underlying technology. It expects to launch around 20 titles over a four year period, but the question of whether third party publishers will be prepared to use and market someone else's controller technology in order to create a Guitar Hero-type phenomenon rather than wait until there are a million base units in the market, remains open to question. PlayStation 2’s EyeToy has been a great success in Europe for Sony, but attempts by the likes of Sega, Konami, and EA to tap into the market have gained little traction.
As you might expect, Holmwood remains positive about the range of options. "As well as Fusion, we're also looking at a bunch of other new control systems and gaming possibilities," he reveals. "In2Games specialises in combining hardware innovation with software, and outside of the format holders themselves I can't think of any other companies who combine that level of expertise in hardware design, manufacture, and software development and publishing. We're certainly keen to hear from developers or publishers who have ideas for, or need help with, creating hardware/software products."
He's also keen not to finish without reinforcing Fusion's superiority.
"To conclude, it's straightforward to port a Wii motion-sensing game to Fusion," he ends. "It's a great first step but it's trivial. Why not take full advantage of what Fusion can offer? What we can do with Fusion is make PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 games that not only have true nextgen graphics, but have true, nextgen motion capture gaming too."
[Jon Jordan is a freelance games journalist and photographer, based in Manchester, UK. He prefers six degrees of separation to six degrees of freedom.]
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
British Telecom (BT) is working on a plan to eliminate the keyboard and mouse, and use accelerometers with tablet PCs instead.
The pilot project enables a user to scroll through menus or applications simply by tilting or rotating the tablet PC. The system starts with a specially designed adapter containing tiny accelerometers, which measure acceleration. The adapter plugs into any tablet PC via a USB cable. When a user moves the PC, the sensors detect the motion. Special software then interprets the PC's movements and translates them onto the computer screen.
"What we want to create is a kind of broadband Etch A Sketch," says BT researcher David Chatting, who wrote the applications for the prototype.
The trick, he says, is getting people sensitized to how moving the PC affects what happens on the computer. "One of my initial applications entails using the PC to manipulate a marble on the screen. I want to demonstrate to the user that how they're holding the device affects what's happening--that they have an almost physical connection to the content on the screen."
For now, Chatting's applications are simple. A user moves the machine left or right to toggle between a few menu choices on-screen, and then pulls the machine forward to select a menu item. "We aren't trying to duplicate all [of] Windows Vista or Mac OSX," Chatting says.
But he is convinced that software could be further adapted so that a person could, say, turn the pages of a virtual book just by tilting the machine, or even move a cursor around a Web page and then click on a link just by giving the machine a light shake.
"The technology has obvious implications for those who are disabled or elderly and [have] difficulty using a fiddly laptop keyboard or mouse," says Adam Oliver, head of BT's Age and Disability Research Program, of which BT Balance is a part. "We wanted to create an interface that was simple and intuitive. Standard ways of controlling PC applications can be too complicated."
Accelerometers are used in a wide range of devices. In the Nintendo Wii hand controller, they provide the raw data from your body's movements that end up as on-screen actions. They also help stabilize the image on your camcorder. Typically, these accelerometers are so small that they fit into a class of devices known as microelectromechanical systems (MEMS).
BT is hardly the first company to put a MEMS accelerometer into portable electronic equipment. Nike and Apple, for example, have teamed up on a product called the iPod Sport Kit. An accelerometer placed in a special pair of Nike running shoes measures workout data, then wirelessly transmits the information to an iPod Nano.
Some tablet PCs and PDAs even feature an option that allows the screen's content to be viewed right-side up, no matter which way the device is held.
Many laptops sold today include a motion-sensing chip that can detect when the machine is falling, and then automatically protect the data on the hard disk from any damage caused by the fall.
But what BT is trying to do--make an affordable computer that can effectively interface with a user only through moving the machine--is trickier. "The motion-sensing tablet PC is a lovely idea," says Jan Korvink, a MEMS expert at the University of Freiburg, in Germany. "But you'll have to deal first of all with drift."
"Drift" is what happens when microsensors, whether through being continuously overheated or by picking up noise signals, degrade over time. "You have to continuously adjust for drift," Korvink says. "And cheap sensors--the kind you need to mass-produce electronics--tend to drift a lot."
According to Korvink, an even bigger issue is finding the "killer applications" for a motion-sensing PC. That will require, he says, a lot of research into what users might want to employ such a device for, and then tweaking the software to make it extremely user-friendly.
With the Chumby computer, a coffee-cup-size Internet appliance designed to display basic information downloaded from the Internet, users will be able to create their own applications that enlist the computer's built-in accelerometers for input. "The real question is how many Flash developers remember enough of their Newtonian physics to use this sensor effectively," says Chumby software guru Duane Maxwell.
Maxwell also says that the company itself has experimented with writing software that would allow the Chumby device to be used to scroll through RSS feeds just by tilting it.
But BT's Chatting says he is well aware that his work is far from being ready for commercial use. "Just like in the 1970s, [when] we were trying to figure out what we could do with a mouse, there's a lot of learning that needs to be done here." Chatting is hoping to put together a real field trial soon so that he can begin to get feedback on how people might actually use a motion-sensing tablet PC.
Monday, April 30, 2007
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
as posted: http://www.memsnet.org/mems/what-is.html
Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) is the integration of mechanical elements, sensors, actuators, and electronics on a common silicon substrate through microfabrication technology. While the electronics are fabricated using integrated circuit (IC) process sequences (e.g., CMOS, Bipolar, or BICMOS processes), the micromechanical components are fabricated using compatible "micromachining" processes that selectively etch away parts of the silicon wafer or add new structural layers to form the mechanical and electromechanical devices.
MEMS promises to revolutionize nearly every product category by bringing together silicon-based microelectronics with micromachining technology, making possible the realization of complete systems-on-a-chip. MEMS is an enabling technology allowing the development of smart products, augmenting the computational ability of microelectronics with the perception and control capabilities of microsensors and microactuators and expanding the space of possible designs and applications.
Microelectronic integrated circuits can be thought of as the "brains" of a system and MEMS augments this decision-making capability with "eyes" and "arms", to allow microsystems to sense and control the environment. Sensors gather information from the environment through measuring mechanical, thermal, biological, chemical, optical, and magnetic phenomena. The electronics then process the information derived from the sensors and through some decision making capability direct the actuators to respond by moving, positioning, regulating, pumping, and filtering, thereby controlling the environment for some desired outcome or purpose. Because MEMS devices are manufactured using batch fabrication techniques similar to those used for integrated circuits, unprecedented levels of functionality, reliability, and sophistication can be placed on a small silicon chip at a relatively low cost.
Monday, April 02, 2007
The B, BD, and BDK single axis accelerometers can be mounted in a tri-axial formation using either the SW3 Mounting Cube or the BS24 Mounting Cube. The BS24 is smaller than the SW3 and allows the user to move the sensor around on the block and switch out sensors to change the range or replace with a new sensor. The SW3 format is a permanent configuration, if one sensor is damaged the entire unit must be replaced. Please note, the BS24 is limited as far as its compatibility, accepting only the B Series or NB3 Sensor with special threading.
Another option is the SB3Gi. This is an out of box solution using a die-case aluminum IP65 housing with 3 integrated accelerometer sensors with 3 signal conditioners. This factory calibrated package provides 3 analog current 4-20mA 2-wire current loop outputs, powered by an 8-30VDC non-regulated supply.
Friday, March 16, 2007
Dytran Instruments, Chatsworth, CA, offers the Model 3023AH High Temperature Triaxial Accelerometer.
Mar 15, 2007 Featuring .36 x .36 in. footprint, miniature Model 3023AH features integral electronics (IEPE) and has 2-10,000 Hz frequency range. Unit is engineered to perform over -60 to +325°F range, making it suited for automotive NVH applications on engines and HASS/HAST chambers or critical flight test applications. Fully welded and hermetically sealed, accelerometer weighs 3 g, has sensitivity of 10 mV/g, and features ¼-28 4-pin connector.
Thomas Net News
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
read more | digg story
Datastick Systems, Inc. — News Release
Michael Scandling, V.P. Marketing.
Phone: (408) 871-3300
Fax: (408) 871-3313
Datastick Systems introduces new-generation handheld Vibration Spectrum Analyzers for machine diagnostics and predictive maintenance
Easy-to-use PDA-based Datastick® VSA-1214 and VSA-1215 Vibration Spectrum Analyzers break down the barriers of cost and training to allow more facilities to reap the cost-saving reliability benefits of vibration analysis in predictive maintenance
Datastick Systems has introduced the VSA-1214 and VSA-1215 Vibration Spectrum analysers, its new-generation PDA-based vibration data collectors and analysers that enable facilities of all sizes to use vibration analysis in machine-condition monitoring, predictive maintenance, and routine troubleshooting to reduce costs and downtime. The announcement was made by Michael Scandling, Vice President of Marketing, at the Datastick Systems, headquarters in Silicon Valley. The pocket-sized system includes the all-new Datastick VSA-1214 or VSA-1215 Vibration spectrum analyser module attached to a state-of-the-art Palm T|X handheld computer with Datastick Spectrum version 1.6 software, which collects vibration measurements and displays and stores them as time waveforms and FFT spectra.
The system also includes the new version 1.6 of Datastick Reporting System (DRS) for VSA, which imports the data from the handheld into a special Microsoft Excel-based application on the PC.
The new products are shipping this week.
'Datastick continues to knock down the barriers that prevent facilities from taking advantage of the cost savings, reduced downtime, and increased reliability that result from vibration analysis as part of predictive maintenance,' said Scandling.
'Starting with price, going on to ease of use, and finally to the big hurdle of lack of in-house vibration expertise in many facilities, Datastick eases the way.
Our entry-level VSA-1214 sells for under $4,000, and operational training is quick and easy.
Most important, customers don't need in-house vibration analysts because our completely open PC software is based on Excel -- they can email their data to the consultant of their choice.' Datastick customer Craig Clark, Manager of Engineering and Maintenance for BBA Fiberweb's Industrial Division said, 'In my opinion, the Datastick VSA handhelds offer the highest capability-to-cost ratio.
Think about it: for less than $5,000, I can avert a $200,000 bearing failure.
In terms of ROI, I can't think of a better investment.' The new system features a new Datastick hardware module with a completely redesigned, extremely low-noise analog input for standard ICP-type accelerometers and velocity sensors, optimised digital circuitry, and a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery with proprietary power management circuitry to allow the VSA-1215 to operate and power ICP sensors far beyond an eight-hour shift.
The VSA-1215 system displays and records overall vibration and ISO vibration severity alerts, as well as acceleration waveforms with a resolution of up to 6,400 points (3,200 points for the VSA-1214); and acceleration, velocity, or displacement spectra with up to 3,200 lines of FFT resolution (1,600 FFT lines for the VSA-1214).
User-selectable maximum frequencies range from 20 KHz down to 50 Hz (10 KHz to 50 Hz for the VSA-1214).
The tenth-order hardware antialiasing filter provides an extremely clean signal, while new low-noise electronics and specialized algorithms keep the noise floor so low that velocity signals are useable down to 1 Hz (60 CPM - cycles per minute).
'The VSA-1215 shows low-frequency velocity and displacement peaks that get buried in noise with many other handheld units -- even systems that cost two to four times as much,' said Steve Sabram, Datastick Chief Technology Officer and President.
'Some handheld systems can't go below 10 Hz for velocity and displacement.
The VSA-1215 allows the user to go down to 1 Hz and even below that, if he needs to, so he can actually see what's happening at low frequencies -- especially subharmonics on machines with operating speeds from 1,800 RPM to below 600 RPM.' The new version 1.6 Datastick Spectrum software for the Palm handheld computer takes full advantage of the Palm T|X's bright, high-resolution 320 x 480 pixel full-colour display--the largest display in any non-tablet handheld vibration analyser.
The display can be oriented to either portrait or landscape views to make it easier to see nuances in FFT spectra.
The spectrum, overall vibration, and ISO-based alert levels are all encompassed in one comprehensive view.
Cursor-position readouts show specific values and harmonic orders when the user touches a data point with a finger or the handheld computer's stylus, and the stylus and touch screen can also be used to zoom and pan directly to areas of interest.
Datastick Spectrum version 1.6 allows users to record vibration data directly onto removable Secure Digital (SD) cards that have been inserted into the Palm handheld.
SD cards with capacities of 2 GB and higher are commonly available, and users can use as many cards as they like, so overall storage capacity is unlimited.
Users transfer vibration data to a PC either by using the Palm handheld's pushbutton HotSync feature or by copying the data directly from the SD card.
Datastick Reporting System (DRS) on a Windows PC automatically organizes the information by machine and creates histories so you can analyse the machine behavior over time.
Reports are created with just a mouse click, and since DRS is based on Excel, Datastick users can share data freely across a network or by email.
'The old saying that you can never have 'too much' storage is true, and with the new VSAs and Datastick Spectrum 1.6, we've removed the storage barriers.
Writing data straight to SD cards allows unlimited data storage and protects against accidental data loss.
Now you can set up an inspection route and collect data directly on the card -- it's easy to keep routes organized,' said Penny Melrose, Datastick CEO.
'Now, even small- to mid-sized facilities benefit from the sophisticated predictive maintenance techniques previously afforded only to the larger companies.'
Thursday, March 01, 2007
Relationships between "ball bank indicator" reading, lateral acceleration rates, and vehicular body-roll rates.
Relationships between "ball bank indicator" reading, lateral acceleration rates, and vehicular body-roll rates.
The objective of the current AASHTO criteria for horizontal curve design is to select the radius and super-elevation so that the lateral acceleration perceived by the occupants of vehicles traversing horizontal curves is kept within comfortable limits. It is considered good design practice to provide roadways on which these comfortable lateral acceleration limits are not violated within an appropriate range of speed values. However, because of geometric constraints, some horizontal curves require significant speed reductions to maintain motorists' comfort levels.
The ball bank indicator has been used since the 1930s to measure the speed at which occupants become uncomfortable. Reported in degrees, the reading of the ball bank indicator is the sum of a vehicle's lateral acceleration and the body-roll minus the roadway superelevation. Ball bank indicator readings and lateral acceleration levels are both indicators of safe speed based on vehicle occupants' comfort levels. Both have been used for highway design since first being introduced, although they are related only theoretically.
The criteria for using ball bank indicators have been modified only slightly in the last 50 years, while vehicle technology and societal changes have experienced significant changes. Ball bank indicator readings were correlated with lateral acceleration rates. Additionally, the influence of vehicular body-roll on ball bank indicator readings was investigated. Ball bank indicator readings and lateral acceleration values were found to be highly correlated. The influence of body-roll on ball bank indicator readings appears to be negligible when using typical passenger cars to determine safe speed on horizontal curves.
Supplemental Notes: This paper appears in Transportation Research Record No. 1658, Highway Geometric Design and Operational Effects Issues.
Accession Number: 00769391
TRIS Files: HRIS
Pagination: p. 34-42
Authors: Carlson, P J; Mason Jr, J M
Features: Figures (2); Photos (1); References (12); Tables (5)
Monograph Info: See related components
Corporate Authors: Transportation Research Board;
Publication Date: 1999
Serial: Transportation Research Record; Issue Number: 1658
Publisher: Transportation Research Board; ISSN: 0361-1981
Index Terms: Aerodynamic features (Vehicle body components); Comfort; Correlation analysis; Highway curves; Highway design; Lateral acceleration; Radius; Speed; Superelevation; Ball bank indicators; Body-roll; Horizontal curves
Subject Areas: H21: FACILITIES DESIGN, 21: Highway and transport planning
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Built-in Advanced Sensors
iPhone’s accelerometer detects when you rotate the device from portrait to landscape, then automatically changes the contents of the display, so you immediately see the entire width of a web page or a photo in its proper landscape aspect ratio.
The proximity sensor detects when you lift iPhone to your ear and immediately turns off the display to save power and prevent inadvertent touches until iPhone is moved away.
An ambient light sensor automatically adjusts the display’s brightness to the appropriate level for the current ambient light, thereby enhancing the user experience and saving power at the same time.