Scientists Use Nintendo’s Wiimote to Measure Water Evaporation

Dec 31, 2010
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Finding equipment for scientist's to use in their daily tests, studies, and anything else can be a hassle, simply due to cost. But thankfully, consumer electronics have seemingly caught up with much of the equipment that scientists use. The only difference is that the devices consumers use are particularly cheaper. That's one of the main reasons that some scientists have begun using Nintendo's Wiimote, the controller for Nintendo's Wii home videogame console, to measure water evaporation.

According to the process outlined in the Water Resources Research, the Wiimote is simply just a cheaper method to get the same results. Scientists have been forced to spend hundreds of dollars on pressure transducers in the past, but with the Wiimote, they don't have that problem. The paper outlines that the Wiimote is able to track the four brightest points in a near infrared image, which allows it to track four IR reflectors that rest in a water pan.

The scientists recreated waves with the use of a generator, and made water levels change with a pump. The result, is that even with substantial waves, they were able to track the changes in water level down to a single millimeter. Additionally, the scientists may use the Wiimote's accelerometer to measure the overall motion of the pan, which would help them even more in accuracy. These measurements, and their accuracy, can help scientists forecast weather conditions, as well as floods.

[via Wired]


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