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Wii's Balance Board turned into virtual flying carpet

Man virtually flys over Alps

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Boffins at a German research centre have adapted the Wii’s Balance Board to let travel-hungry gamers navigate the world, without ever leaving the living room.

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Matthieu Deru and Simon Bergweiler are from the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence, which is one of the world’s largest non-profit research institutes for software based on AI methods. The pair successfully modified the Wii Fit board so that it can be used to control movement within a range of 3D applications, including Google Earth and Microsoft’s Virtual Earth.

Although very little information about the modifications is given away, the pair say that the Balance Board's four pressure sensors send information about the user’s movement back to a laptop over Bluetooth.

In a video, one of the virtual surfers is shown flying over the Alps and using only the board to control on-screen movement. The video also shows the Balance Board controlling movement whilst flying over the rooftops of Munich in Google Earth.

The pair even show their adapted Balance Board being used with Second Life, to control an avatar walking down the street.

But, if you’re hoping to carve a virtual path through snow-capped mountains or fly across the rooftops of mansions in the Hollywood Hills, then think again becuase no plans to release the modified board have been given.

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