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VR Interfaces: Wii Balance Board (Wii Fit)


Overview of Wii Balance Board (Wii Fit)

At 2007's E3 expo, Nintendo unveiled a new peripheral for the Wii that is as motion-sensitive as the Wiimote. Tentatively named the Wii Balance Board, and possibly subject to change, it is to be packaged with the new software Wii Fit, and opened up to third party developers from there.

The Wii Balance Board is literally what it sounds like. It is a small, white board you stand upon, with internal pressure pads in formation, to detect any slight changes in weight as your posture changes on top of it. Calibrated by you standing in a variety of positions indicated by the Wii, it then works out the weight distribution for each position, so as it is able to calculate how your weight distribution will be affected for positions in-between and outside that range by extrapolation.

Once calibrated, it uses the precise pattern of changes, to work out how your body is positioned on top of it, so that it can tell the Wii to precisely recreate that position with your on-screen avatar.

In this way, the Wii Balance Board is designed to recreate the proprioception - feeling of where all the parts of your body are - inside the virtual environment.

The board can be used with multiple family members; just have to tell the Wii which person is about to use the board so it has the correct calibration. As the Wii will happily support up to four separate motion controllers at the same time, a Wiimote can actually be used at the same time as the board, creating the ability to tell the system how hard your limb is moving as well as your precise position.

As yet, there is no release date.

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