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Dec 03 2009

My mind is blown

Last night we had a pizza party and game night for the Society of Non-Theists’ last meeting of the semester. I brought my Wii along, and being foolish, didn’t bring the sensor bar. My logic at the time was that all the games I brought didn’t require the sensor bar, so why waste time untangling it from the jungle of wires behind me TV? As I turned the Wii on in the classroom, I remembered that you need to use the sensor bar to click the button on the Wii menu that actually starts the game. You’re unable to do this any other way – d-pad, joystick, and other random button mashing didn’t work.

My first thought was “Well, fuck.” My second thought was, “Wow Nintendo, I hate you. Way to make completely user-unfriendly controls just so people require your sensor bar.” My third and most intelligent thought was, “The internet must have a solution.”

I skimmed through a couple of pages of Google before I found something. It seemed so simple that I didn’t believe it. I yelled over the din of pizza eating heathens, “Does anyone have a lighter?”

Oh my God. AMAZING.

The way a Wiimote works is by detecting infrared light. You can also produce infrared light with fire. Members and I looked on in awe as I controlled the Wiimote by pointing it at a flame. It seemed like freaking magic, but no – it was SCIENCE.

Science wins again, allowing a bunch of atheists to beat each other up in Brawl and die hilariously in Super Mario Brothers (cooperation is hard!).

36 comments

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  1. 1
    Cycle Ninja

    For hilarious pictures of video-game carnage, go to wiihaveaproblem.com

  2. 2
    Cycle Ninja

    For hilarious pictures of video-game carnage, go to wiihaveaproblem.com

  3. 3
    Lauren S.

    "Die hilariously" is right. That was louder for longer than when we were roaring Powerthirst quotes at the drag party.

  4. 4
    Lauren S.

    “Die hilariously” is right. That was louder for longer than when we were roaring Powerthirst quotes at the drag party.

  5. 5
    Craig

    YAY SCIENCE!

  6. 6
    [kɹeɪ̯ɡ̊]

    YAY SCIENCE!

  7. 7
    Jen

    I'm mildly disturbed that I have no recollection of any Powerthirst quotes at my party. I'm going to assume I was in the bathroom rather than too drunk to remember.

  8. 8
    Jen

    I’m mildly disturbed that I have no recollection of any Powerthirst quotes at my party. I’m going to assume I was in the bathroom rather than too drunk to remember.

  9. 9
    Jeff

    Can you give a more in-depth description of this? I'm very confused as to how it works.

  10. 10
    Tiger

    Can you give a more in-depth description of this? I’m very confused as to how it works.

  11. 11
    Jen

    Tiger, http://www.nytimes.com/packages/khtml/2006/12/21/business/20061221_HOWW_GRAPHIC.html

    The Wiimote has an infrared camera that "sees" LEDs in a sensor bar. A flame, like the LEDs, produces infrared light, so you're effectively tricking the Wiimote into thinking it's looking at a sensor bar.

    Not sure if I can get any more in depth than that, I suck at Physics.

  12. 12
    Jen

    Tiger, http://www.nytimes.com/package…The Wiimote has an infrared camera that “sees” LEDs in a sensor bar. A flame, like the LEDs, produces infrared light, so you’re effectively tricking the Wiimote into thinking it’s looking at a sensor bar.Not sure if I can get any more in depth than that, I suck at Physics.

  13. 13
    Alec

    Pure. Awesome. I want to try that now!

  14. 14
    Alec

    Pure. Awesome. I want to try that now!

  15. 15
    BeamStalk

    Awesome, I will have to try this myself.

  16. 16
    BeamStalk

    Awesome, I will have to try this myself.

  17. 17
    BeamStalk

    By try this, I mean I will set a fire on top of my TV.

  18. 18
    BeamStalk

    By try this, I mean I will set a fire on top of my TV.

  19. 19
    Anonymous

    Wii motes can be used for all sorts of nifty things. Johnny Lee had a good TED talk demoing a few:http://www.ted.com/talks/johnny_lee_demos_wii_remote_hacks.html

  20. 20
    Anonymous

    Wii motes can be used for all sorts of nifty things. Johnny Lee had a good TED talk demoing a few:http://www.ted.com/talks/johnn

  21. 21
    Rex

    I LOVE how things like this work sometimes! And now with google at your fingertips every day, everyone can be Macgyver!

    Congrats on thinking outside the box and figuring it out!

    I once drove 50 miles through town in a standard shift car with a broken clutch cable (no clutch response at all!). All it takes is an understanding of how things work. I did not grind a single gear, and I wasn't late!

  22. 22
    Rex

    I LOVE how things like this work sometimes! And now with google at your fingertips every day, everyone can be Macgyver!Congrats on thinking outside the box and figuring it out!I once drove 50 miles through town in a standard shift car with a broken clutch cable (no clutch response at all!). All it takes is an understanding of how things work. I did not grind a single gear, and I wasn’t late!

  23. 23
    Brian Burg

    You can also use candles, for example.

    Some controllers (the one i'm thinking of is the Guitar Hero controller) let you move the Wii Menu hands with a stick. Of course, a lot of game features will fail to work without the infrared source.

  24. 24
    Brian Burg

    You can also use candles, for example.Some controllers (the one i’m thinking of is the Guitar Hero controller) let you move the Wii Menu hands with a stick. Of course, a lot of game features will fail to work without the infrared source.

  25. 25
    Pablo

    I don't remember if it is the new versions of the CPS pads or the original ones that used IR signal. If someone had a CPS pad or clicker with them (I suspect many did) that might work, too. Alternative, if it was a room with an LCD projector with a remote, that might trip it as well. Then again, it might be a specific wavelength, and since a flame is going to send out a wide band of wavelengths, it would be more generally applicable (although not as intense).

  26. 26
    Pablo

    I don’t remember if it is the new versions of the CPS pads or the original ones that used IR signal. If someone had a CPS pad or clicker with them (I suspect many did) that might work, too. Alternative, if it was a room with an LCD projector with a remote, that might trip it as well. Then again, it might be a specific wavelength, and since a flame is going to send out a wide band of wavelengths, it would be more generally applicable (although not as intense).

  27. 27
    Egoist Paul

    Great story! If you traveled back in time and brought the same equipment and lighter, you would be worshiped as a god. lol. Or maybe you don't need to travel back in time. Maybe the same trick would work on a bunch of Creationists, and they might worship you as the second Jesus Christ. lol.

  28. 28
    Egoist Paul

    Great story! If you traveled back in time and brought the same equipment and lighter, you would be worshiped as a god. lol. Or maybe you don’t need to travel back in time. Maybe the same trick would work on a bunch of Creationists, and they might worship you as the second Jesus Christ. lol.

  29. 29
    godlizard

    Well that is about the coolest Wii-related thing I've ever heard. Fire! Enterprising geeks always find a way.

  30. 30
    godlizard

    Well that is about the coolest Wii-related thing I’ve ever heard. Fire! Enterprising geeks always find a way.

  31. 31
    Svlad Cjelli

    Heheh, this gamer could have told you that before the Wii was released. :)

  32. 32
    Svlad Cjelli

    Heheh, this gamer could have told you that before the Wii was released. :)

  33. 33
    starfia

    1) I still retain semi-fond memories of placing two tea lights about 12 inches from each other near our projector screen before my independently-powered sensor bar arrived.

    2) Praying for the Wii Remote's infra-red system to work without the sensor bar *may* work.

    3) The first-party Classic Controller's analog stick can manipulate the cursor around the Wii Menu as well, but it *may* be the result of prayer.

  34. 34
    starfia

    1) I still retain semi-fond memories of placing two tea lights about 12 inches from each other near our projector screen before my independently-powered sensor bar arrived.2) Praying for the Wii Remote’s infra-red system to work without the sensor bar *may* work.3) The first-party Classic Controller’s analog stick can manipulate the cursor around the Wii Menu as well, but it *may* be the result of prayer.

  35. 35
    bunny

    When this happened to me, no one had any lighters; we solved the problem by using a pair of radio remotes, which contain an infrared LED. The tricky part with that is that each command has a different light-flashing pattern, so especially if the remotes are different, you have to just keep mashing buttons on each one until you get ones that sync with each other xD Works just well enough to get you playing a game, in a pinch.

  36. 36
    bunny

    When this happened to me, no one had any lighters; we solved the problem by using a pair of radio remotes, which contain an infrared LED. The tricky part with that is that each command has a different light-flashing pattern, so especially if the remotes are different, you have to just keep mashing buttons on each one until you get ones that sync with each other xD Works just well enough to get you playing a game, in a pinch.

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