The Wii remote, besides being a great way to play all the amazing games that have been released this holiday season, has been used for a variety of other interesting applications. The remote was designed to do all of the position calculations on-board, and it uses Bluetooth to transmit this data to a Wii, a computer, or, now, terrifying bomb-sniffing robots. The US Army, through the Idaho National Laboratory, is currently conducting research using the little plastic Wii remote to control military robots. “If a soldier wants to find a bomb [with a robot], 95 percent of their attention has to be focused on the screen,” said Doug Few, a project scientist who apparently comes up with statistics on the fly. “Using the Wii remote reduces the work load on the operator and also extends the numbers of domains that the robot can be used in.” He finished by saying: “Also, sometimes [the remote] runs out of batteries, leaving the robots untethered, and angry. At night, I lie awake in fear of their metal grip!”
According to MSNBC, the controller is used to point to a specific place, and the robot, using sophisticated artificial intelligence, will slowly amble towards that point. However, the most terrifying statement in the entire article is a short aside about the various functions of the Wii remote: “The various buttons and physical actions on the Wiimote would activate certain responses, [i]such as throwing a grenade[/i] or sweeping for land mines, faster than having to look down and operate a specific key.” Yes. This is what I want. I want the controller that gives me fits when it flips out sometimes during Boom Blox (which I love, don’t get me wrong) to be potentially telling a robot to throw an explosive. This all sounds like a great idea.
Well, this is my warm and fuzzy thought of the day. Some army scientist standing around controlling Johhny-Five with a Wii Remote, complete with reinforced wriststrap and remote condom.