Let's Make Robots!

Wii Camera BreakOuts

I just finished and sent off some break out boards to support a wiicamera. These boards use the camera after it has been removed from the wiimote and communicate via i2c NOT the standard bluetooth connection of the wiimote. Included on the board is the necessary reset circuit and 25mhz crystal. There are a total of (4) .9" mounting holes to match 2-56 hardware. 2 of these holes match the hole pattern of the servo horn of the "LMR standard" blue servo. Pull-up resistors are also on board for the i2c lines. The board requires and has a 5-pin header for:

  • Gnd
  • 5v
  • 3.3v
  • SDA
  • SCL

This batch will be 5 units, 2 of which have already been claimed. Please contact me if you are interested one of the last 3 or have any questions. The boards will come populated and tested. $30.

I am sorry, these are terrible screen grabs but please look closely, the boards have quite a snazzy outline, indeed.

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Chris the Carpenter's picture

I think everyone has got things covered, but yes, I got 'em. Mogul covered the website link. (Thanks, mogul)

Hi, I'm definitely interested in a board if you are still making any. Any plans?



mogul's picture

I think Chris still makes them. Go to http://rocketbrandstudios.com/ search for WiiCamera, they are to the right under the Boards, PCB's, Components section.

Wow this is awesome. Premade with the IR cam.. thanks for the link!

Chris the Carpenter's picture

It feels like the camera is seeing something in the distance, a desk light or something. This has gotten me many times in the past. Your connections look fine, and it looks like you have both voltages going in. Is there any chance you are using Arduino 1.0? If so, did you grab the Pvision example for the 1.0? I have found the Pvision library to be pretty solid right off-the-shelf, so if you can't get it with a few more tries, it is probably the camera itself. It would be strange if it were, I test each one after soldering but if one has elimated all other posibilities... Lemme know if you can't get it going, being just one small sensor it can go in an envelope and can easily be sent. I'll just zap another one off to you. I really do want this guy to work for you, they are incredible sensors when they are up and running.So much fun. Super duper simple with the library doing all the work as well. Lemme know either way.

Chris the Carpenter's picture

The WiiMote (Wii video game remote) in its regular state, contains a tiny camera in its nose. Just below or above your television, a "sensor bar" is placed. This name is very much incorrect in the fact that the "sensor bar" contains IR leds, not sensors. These leds are a given distance apart. The camera inside the wiimote can detect and note the position of up to 4 points of IR light so with this sensor bar (and a little trig) the wiimote can calcuate its position in relation to the tv.

This camera actually communicates with the wiimote via an i2c signal which can be replicated by many microcontrollers. In short, the camera can be removed, wired to talk to a robot brain and used to sense points of IR. This fuction is fairly amazing. Examples:

Lets say you have your wii camera up and running and you shine an IR light (or near IR light at it). The wiicamera will output data to the microcontroller showing the X and Y position (within it's field of view) the size of that point of light, and the brightness. If a second IR source is introduced, more data will be sent including the above information. This continues with the 3rd and 4th point of light. This data can be used for all kinds of wonderful things.

  • With 2 IR leds at a given distance apart, a robot can calculate its distance from, and position relation to, these points of light. Fantastic for docking.
  • With the camera on a pan/tilt servo set-up, the robot can very easily track an IR target. I have used this for "follow the leader" and "hide-and-go-seek" with the IR "beacon" being moved by both a human and also by another robot.
  • Many folks have used this system to track an IR pen or stylus as a mouse and/or to interact with video projections etc. --Gareth most famously used this system in his Picaxxo robot.
  • Because fire produces IR light, these can be used to detect say, candles etc. for any of the "blow it out" robots
  • And of course... The most super-awesome use of these camera is to reproduce laser radar systems.

What I, following the lead of others, have done is to place the wiicamera and a (near IR) red laser on a mount. The camera sits a given distance from the laser, and the laser is angled slightly to the center. Both the given distance between the two items, and the angle at which they sit are constants and known before progamming. The laser is shooting a diagonal line across the field of view of the camera, and as an object crosses this line, a bright dot will appear on that object. Because of this diagonal line, as the object moves closer or further away, the camera will "see" this dot moving left and right within it's field of view. Because the distance between the camera and the laser, as well as the angles, is known, we can use a little trig. to calculate the distance of the dot. Badda boom, badda bing you got yourself laser radar. Now, the professional laser radar systems have ranges of 10 meters or more and are far more accurate, but they also cost about $1000. My personal set-up gives me around 3 meters with (for a hobbyist robot) pretty amazing accuracy all for less than $50.


The breakout board above, is simply a way to use these cameras in a handy way. Their pins are a very fine pitch and hard to solder, and they require a few other doo-dads to make them work. A 25mhz clock signal for example. The breakout board simple takes care of all these requirements so you can just plug it in and go.

NilsB's picture

Have connected all wires according to your description and use the code from your website. But the sensor does not send the expected data. Is there anything I'm missing here?


Have connected the Wii Breakout Board to 5v and 3.3v on the Arduino. Have connected the SCL to A5 and the SDA to A4.

Uploaded the code that I got from here.

The byte result = ircam.read(); returns 15, no matter what I hold in front of the camera. Have put a candle in front and an IR LED. The result is 15 and the x and y coordinates are 0. My observation is that the 15 is returned when the Wii is not connected to the Arduino.

But now... for one moment... I saw the expected data. But I can not reproduce it again.


Have also tried a 10k pull-up resistor between 3.3v and SDA. No changes due to that.

Have changed all cables. Have changed the Arduino. No differences.

Here is the output:

BLOB1 detected. X:0 Y:0 Size:0
BLOB2 detected. X:0 Y:0 Size:0
BLOB3 detected. X:0 Y:0 Size:0
BLOB4 detected. X:0 Y:0 Size:0


This is the expected output:

BLOB1 detected. X:533 Y:750 Size:3


Here is the wiring:

Edit: When I wait 30seconds and leave the system untouched the result sometines goes to 0. I then try the candle again but nothing happens. Pull-up resistor. No change.

ChuckCrunch's picture

how far away it the flame it might be saturating the cam, an IR remote can be picked up and you have something to compare . but on the other hand if there is no target there should be no debug for that blob but you getting all 4 , if i remember the program from Rocket Brand correctly 

i did all the same things except mine is using the 3v,5v,gnd next to each other and no prototype shield (i don't think this is the problem)  and it worked out of the box ,

there are some things i can not see in the photo that i would like to see like the power section of the prototype shield v.5.. so i looked that up

im sorry i have no real solution for you  


NilsB's picture

Removed the proto-shield and connected (with another new wire-set) directly to the Arduino. For a moment the measurements came in and I thought that this is it... but after a few seconds the 4 blob detected lines came again. So nothing has changed after all.


Chris the Carpenter's picture

And that is all she wrote for this batch. All gone.

I would like to get this batch finished and sorta "out the door" before I start doing the Ebay rounds for more remotes but I would like to know if there is continued interest.