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Wii MotionPlus Technology Provider Reveals the Guts Behind the Device

by Zachary Miller - July 17, 2008, 2:26 pm PDT
Total comments: 16 Source: Press Release

MEMS gyroscopes provide a new level of motion-sensing accuracy.

Get ready for the Wii Remote 2.0. Motion-sensing developer InvenSense Inc. is helping Nintendo improve the accuracy of the Wii Remote’s 3D motion sensing thanks to a little add-on called the Wii MotionPlus. This accessory, which plugs into the bottom of the standard Wii Remote, holds within its plastic cage a new, advanced type of MEMS gyroscope. Without going into technical details, the end result is that InvenSense has brought the motion-sensing technology to a point such that it can be used in consumer devices instead of the usual industrial applications. When combined with the Wii Remote’s accelerometer and sensor bar, the Wii MotionPlus accessory will finally offer true 1:1 motion control.

The Wii MotionPlus accessory is set to ship with Wii Sports Resort in 2009.


World's Leading Multi-axis MEMS Rate Gyroscope Enhances Performance of Latest "Wii MotionPlus" Accessory

SUNNYVALE, Calif., July 15, 2008 – InvenSense Inc., a leading provider of MEMS-based motion sensing solutions for image stabilization, dead reckoning navigation, 3D remote control, and gaming devices, today announced that its IDG-600 multi-axis MEMS rate gyroscope has started shipping in mass production quantities to Nintendo for its Wii MotionPlus accessory. Gesture based interfaces are quickly becoming the standard for many feature-rich consumer electronic products. Utilizing InvenSense’s unique motion sensing capabilities, customers of the new generation of Wii MotionPlus controllers will enjoy an immersive gaming experience with motion control never before possible in a video game. The Wii MotionPlus accessory attaches to the end of the Wii Remote and, combined with the accelerometer and the sensor bar, allows for more comprehensive tracking of a player's arm position and orientation. In the new Wii Sports Resort product from Nintendo, for example, the ability to throw a disc through the air and control the angle of flight is now possible.

Conventional MEMS gyroscopes, which are the key enabling technology that can sense absolute rotational motion inputs, are typically used in commercial automotive electronic stability control and GPS applications, where their larger size, high power consumption and costs are accommodated. InvenSense has introduced an entirely new class of high performance silicon-based MEMS rate gyroscopes that offers smaller package sizes, lower power consumption, and lower price points suitable for consumer markets. The addition of InvenSense’s multi-axis rate gyroscope solution to the Wii MotionPlus accessory allows high precision 3D tracking of rapid gaming gestures.

“The popularity of Wii in large part is based on its popular motion sensing interface and InvenSense’s MEMS rate gyroscope represents a truly disruptive technology that possesses inherent manufacturing and high performance advantages that drives the need for a new generation of Wii Remote,” said Genyo Takeda, General Manager of Nintendo’s Integrated Research and Development Division. “Nintendo selected the IDG-600 for its ability to measure large dynamic motions, high shock resistance, and accuracy for sensing the fast moving arm and hand motions required to support exciting new game titles.”

MEMS offers miniaturized sensing solutions to meet the ideal performance, size and cost requirements of consumer applications. A key advantage of MEMS technology, as compared to its quartz and piezo-ceramic counterparts, is its ability to incorporate 3D mechanical features directly into single crystal silicon substrates while easily and cost effectively integrating it with CMOS electronics. InvenSense pioneered its patented manufacturing platform, known as Nasiri-Fabrication, which enabled the company to bring the world’s first and smallest integrated multi-axis gyroscopes to consumer products. Using Nasiri-Fabrication allows for the integration of MEMS and CMOS structures at the wafer level with a proprietary bonding technology resulting in several thousand gyroscopes simultaneously produced on a single wafer.

“We are honored to be selected as a strategic supplier by Nintendo, the leader in consumer gaming, and provide them with the solution that met their needs”, said Steven Nasiri, founder and CEO of InvenSense. “This accomplishment is credited to our highly innovative team here at InvenSense. We will continue our development efforts to bring about leading edge motion sensing solutions with an even higher level of integration, improved cost and performance, and added functionality to address the huge demand for motion-enabled gesture recognition.”

For more information on InvenSense motion sensing solutions, visit http://www.invensense.com


As official NWR staff engineer, I declare this technology to be awesome.

EnnerJuly 17, 2008

This makes me wonder what exactly was lacking in the remote's and nunchuck's motion sensor. I heard from RFN and other that the plus adds another axis (roll?) and orientation when still?

CalibanJuly 17, 2008

That's what a gyroscope does, basically.

NinGurl69 *hugglesJuly 17, 2008


AVJuly 17, 2008

Can I buy stock for this company?

RizeDavid Trammell, Staff AlumnusJuly 18, 2008

Quote from: Jonnyboy117

As official NWR staff engineer, I declare this technology to be awesome.

Awesome, yet not truly 1:1.  This technology doesn't know where your arm is, it only knows the orientation (which the wii-mote already knew, just not with as much accuracy).

What we're really waiting for is a local "gps" system.  While we wait though, this is an improvement.

KDR_11kJuly 18, 2008

Quote from: Enner

This makes me wonder what exactly was lacking in the remote's and nunchuck's motion sensor. I heard from RFN and other that the plus adds another axis (roll?) and orientation when still?

A gyroscope is more accurate. With accelerometers you can guess which way the remote is turned by tracking how it got accelerated and, when still, looking for the pull of gravity. A gyroscope remembers which direction it was held in when it got calibrated and can tell you pretty exactly where it's pointed relative to that direction.

Michael8983July 18, 2008

As much as this will improve the Wii's motion control I can't help but feel it's a waste.
As an optional accessory developers will be hesitant to make games requiring it which will keep it from being any kind of lasting innovation and if it did end up being standard on the Wii's successor it would no longer be as impressive by then because we'll have already experienced the superior motion controls in a few titles that will use it.
It seems like Nintendo should have either waited to use this technology for its next console or just make every effort to make it the new standard for the Wii which is hopefully still a possibility. Though it would mean packaging the accessory with future remotes and selling it stand-alone for a generous price so existing users will buy them for all their existing remotes.

shammackJuly 18, 2008

Quote from: Michael8983

It seems like Nintendo should have either waited to use this technology for its next console

Why?  They can still use it in the next console (if they haven't scrapped motion control altogether and come up with something completely different by then), but now we'll also get to play a few games that use it on the Wii in the meantime.  And this way they're safe from their competitors doing it first.

Imagine the reaction if they waited, and the next console was just 2-3 times more powerful than the Wii, with this controller.  It wouldn't be pretty.

planetidiotJuly 18, 2008

Anyone else feel this is just trying to deliver what we all thought the Wii was going to do when it launched?  I remember feeling kind of bummed when I realized in Wii sports, it just kind of took over your swing for you in golf and baseball.

KnowsNothingJuly 18, 2008

This is the exact technology I thought the Wii was going to use in the first place.  I remember arguing with people that the Wii would be able to know exactly where the remote is at all times based on some guesswork from its sensors (sans IR bar).  I guess I was both right and wrong.

In any case, I am glad this is coming to fruition.  Yeah, I know, it's an extra accessory and it's only doing what the Wii should have done from the start....but really, I was happy with the Wii before and this is only going to make it that much better.

oohhboyHong Hang Ho, Staff AlumnusJuly 18, 2008

Now that the Wiimote can now do pitch roll and yaw combined with the accelerometers it can do exactly what we all though it should have done in the first place but couldn't do with the accelerometers alone.

The Keyword here is Dead Reckoning. The system knows the Wiimote shouldn't be more than 2 meters away from it's calibrated position (If it isn't, maybe someone should be using a strap) so all it's estimates as to where it is should effectively render the system 1:1 in relation as to where it thinks it is over short periods of time. Since it isn't traveling far and not going to be used at the North or South pole errors that appear in aircraft gyroscopes are going to be less evident. Anyone who has done a SADIE check will know what I am talking about. looked up the product in question Since it's a RATE gyro it doesn't care about drift, only how many degrees in the X/Y axis it passed through in the last 1/140th of a second. Also, my guess is that every time it gets a good look at the sensor bar it gets re-calibrated. It isn't a true gyro, but along with the other sensors, it is good enough for gaming.

As potentially painful as it has the potential to be, they need to integrate this into a Wiimote V2.0. They have the add-on to upgrade existing controllers. They do need to make this standard. Yes I am telling Nintendo to do what Sony did with PSX and re-standardize the controller. They can do this by releasing Wiisports 2 as a pack-in. Bigger better badder.

Here is the product in question http://www.invensense.com/products/idg_600.html It's quite clever and it's Nintendo Tough.

Will the MotionPlus improve aiming in RE4 and RE: UC? Or is its use limited to big arm-wavy motion for games like Wii Sports and Wii Play?

NinGurl69 *hugglesJuly 18, 2008

No.  To improve aim, you need practice.

MotionPlus is about recognizing where in space, relatively, the Wii Remote is, and improves sensitivity to tilt angles.

The normal Wii Remote mainly covers tilt, IR pointing, and swipe detection (applying Gs to the remote by swinging the remote to make an imaginary line or arc in space... or back & forth shaking/rotation).

AVJuly 19, 2008

now one is coming with a copy of Wii Sports Resort, I bet that Nintendo will sell it individually with Wii Play 2 for $20 and have another pointless game to brag about on the NPD. However to make a bigger impact WiiPlay 2 will come in 3 different versions so people who buy more than one don't get the same game.

NPD for July 2009

Wii sports Resort
Wii play 2: Blue
Wii play 2: Green'
Wii play 2: Red
Wii Fit
Wii Music
Animal Crossing: City Folk

It's funny because its true

BeautifulShyJuly 19, 2008

Vega where can I get your time Machine?

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