Wiimote Controlled Coil Gun

I know it seems like a while since I last posted, but since my Christmas enlistment into the Joint Strike Force I’ve been busy winning WWIII for America! Actually it’s not been all video games, I’ve been working on a Django project that I hope to release in a few weeks, and inspired by ServoBeer I managed to find time for some ioBridge hacking.

However, as you can tell my recent militaristic tendencies have probably gotten the better of me!

Weapons of War

Weapons of War

As you know from my previous posts I’m interested bringing a higher level of physical awareness and capability to my typical computing environment. Embedded systems are usually used to bypass the need for sophisticated systems, and the ioBridge is great for those situations.

Yet, I’m perfectly comfortable with the idea of using a laptop for a command and control system. It might be a more “tethered” solution then some people would like but I figure in a few years my iPhone will be able to fulfill the role my laptop currently has!

I wanted to move beyond some of the work I’ve been doing with passive sensors and in thinking about some ideas for a more active interfaces I realized that the wiimote certainly fits the description of a powerful controller! There are already enough great wii control hacks out there and some programs let you use the wiimote as a mouse!

But I wanted more then to just replace my mouse, and in most of these cases the flow control goes from the wiimote to a computer, or the wiimote to an arduino with lots of wiring. I wanted to both avoid the electrical requirements as well as extend the influence and “reach” of my wiimote beyond my immediate vicinity.

There are certainly times when you wouldn’t want to put your expensive new Macbook in harm’s way. Whether on the front lines or in the basement laptops are sometimes the wrong systems to dedicate to a task, so ioBridge to the rescue!

The ioBridge already has a number of features which make it idea for “remote” situations and so all I needed create was a mechanism to coordinate wiimote events sent to my computer with ioBridge events sent to the module. Luckily the team at ioBridge has created just such an API!

In this setup I use a python script and MoteDaemeon to bring the events into my laptop’s domain. Of course I could script up a number of local events but what I wanted to do was act on that data and sending commands to an ioBridge module.

So I build a website which monitors the position from one axis of the wiimote and extrapolates that position to a servo output on a remote ioBridge module (which happens to be in my office, but doesn’t have to be). I’m also tracking some of the button inputs and can expand easilly to include other axes as well!

Now I just needed something fun to control on the other end! I happened to have an office golf putter lying around and that uses an electromagnetic induction coil to generate the force needed for the ball return when you sink a putt. If you take that apart and replace the metal cylinder with something a tad bit smaller then you’re left with a coil gun capable of some pretty powerful shooting!

I’m not sure it’s up to DoD standards yet but remember the only required link between the wiimote and the ioBridge module is the Internet so if you can sneak one of these into your friend’s house, or a colleagues’ office, then you could be anywhere on the planet with Internet access and stick it to them!

How’s that for “Can you hear me now?”. Check out the video of it in action on YouTube or Vimeo!

About jay

I'm trying to build something interactive where I can learn from others and hopefully share useful knowledge too. thecapacity@gmail.com
This entry was posted in hacks, hardware, iobridge. Bookmark the permalink.

80 Responses to Wiimote Controlled Coil Gun

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  22. dan says:

    Hi [thecapacity], this is dan who spoke to you briefly on hackaday. I see you got posted on engadget, good work!
    Yesterday whilst messing around I hooked up a servo with a webcam stuck on top to a PC running a face detection algorithm (part of http://www.neurotechnology.com/pc-based-face-recognition.html); it took all of half an hour before resulting in a pretty cool/creepy little single axis face-following robot.

    When I get round to ordering it I’m going to mount one of these on top with some servos controlling the Y-axis: http://www.gunnerairsoft.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=42. It’s basically a cheap airsoft electric BB gun which can fire in full auto; it shouldn’t take long to wire up the trigger to a relay so that it can be fired by software. Coil guns are pretty awesome but this thing fires little plastic BBs at 200fps with reasonable accuracy and is designed to be shot at people without hurting them 🙂

    Just thought I’d post here in case you find any of this interesting. Today I’m going to have a go at copying what you’ve done but using my mobile phone instead of a Wii remote, I’ll share anything cool I find…

    • jay says:

      Dan, that’s fantastic!
      I have a friend w/ some airsoft so I was thinking about borrowing a gun of his for something similar!
      I wrote a quick post which maybe will help you out, although it sounds like you’re well on your way w/o me!

      The face tracking aspect is pretty impressive! I think someone in the engadget forum (Cory) had a great idea which was use an IR LED to illuminate whatever target your ID (in your case a fase) and then have a wiimote on top of the gun and use it’s IR sensor to help give you better tracking resolution.

      Anyway, keep me posted on how it turns out! It’s amazing how these things can come together once you get started, huh?

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