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The Wiimote on the Playground
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1.S. Van Hook, A. Lark, J. Hodges, E. Celebrezze, and L. Channels, “Playground physics determining the moment of inertia of a merry-go-round,” Phys. Teach. 45, 8587 (Feb. 2007).
2.R. Taylor, D. Hutson, W. Krawiec, J. Ebert, and R. Rubinstein, “Computer physics on the playground,” Phys. Teach. 33, 332337 (Sept. 1995).
3.R. Ochoa, F. G. Rooney, and W. J. Somers, “Usingthe Wiimote in introductory physics experiments,” Phys. Teach. 49, 1618 (Jan. 2011) and references therein.
4.A. Kawam and M. Kouh, “Wiimote Experiments: 3-D inclined plane problem for reinforcing the vector concept,” Phys. Teach. 49, 508 (Nov. 2011).
7.InvenSense, 1197 Borregas Ave., Sunnyvale, CA 94089; invensense.com/mems/gaming.html.
8.G. R. Fowles and G. L. Cassiday, Analytical Mechanics, 7th ed. (Thomson-Brooks/Cole, Belmont, CA, 2005), pp. 338340.
9.Ibid, pp. 9293.
View: Figures


Image of Fig. 1.

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Fig. 1.

The photo shows the compound pendulum setup. The Wiimote is the black device. The support is made of wood.

Image of Fig. 2.

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Fig. 2.

Angular velocity-versus-time graph corresponding to the compound pendulum shown in Fig. 1. The initial angular amplitude was 10°.

Image of Fig. 3.

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Fig. 3.

Plots of playground swing motion. The solid line represents the angular velocity and the dashed line the angular position, both as function of time.

Image of Fig. 4.

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Fig. 4.

Swing oscillations under free motion, an external impulse at the maximum amplitude of oscillation, and when user changes body positions to increase his own amplitude. Plots have been displaced vertically for clarity.

Image of Fig. 5.

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Fig. 5.

Shown are the angular position (dashed line) and angular velocity (solid line) data for the Wiimote undergoing uniform and non-uniform circular motion on a rotating platform.

Image of Fig. 6.

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Fig. 6.

The solid line represents centripetal acceleration obtained from the Wiimote accelerometers while attached to a rotating platform. Calculated centripetal acceleration (dashed line) was obtained using the angular velocities reported by the Wiimote's gyroscopes.

Image of Fig. 7.

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Fig. 7.

Angular position (dashed line) and angular velocity (solid line) values for rotation on a playground carousel at a radius of 1 m.

Image of Fig. 8.

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Fig. 8.

The solid line shows the centripetal acceleration measurements of the Wiimote's accelerometers. The dashed line represents the accelerations calculated from the measured angular velocities (by the Wiimote's gyroscopes) on a playground carousel at a radius of 1 m.


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In 2010, the Wiimote was upgraded with three-axis gyroscopes that can measure rotational velocities up to 2000 deg/s. The improved remote is referred to as the Wii MotionPlus. We present experiments that use the gyroscope's capabilities and compare data acquired in lab settings with those obtained in playground environments. Van Hook et al. and Taylor et al. make good cases of the benefits of using the playground as a laboratory. We expand on the experiences they describe.


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Scitation: The Wiimote on the Playground