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How do you prefer to interact with your computer? Sometimes a mouse and keyboard just isn’t enough. Depending on what you’re doing, a completely different interface method is required for you to get the most out of your computer. Personally, I use a trackball and keyboard, for gaming as well as standard use, and there are many Windows computer owners who prefer to do the majority of their work using a graphical tablet and stylus.
Elsewhere on MakeUseOf we’ve covered methods for connecting PS3 controllers and Xbox 360 controllers to your PC – but did you know that it is also possible to interact with your computer via the Wiimote?
Once you’ve successfully established a connection, the device can then be used for various purposes. Its motion sensor enables you to use the Wiimote as a pointing device, for instance, useful for conducting presentations…
What You’ll Need to Get Started
If you own a Nintendo Wii or have access to a Wiimote (they can be picked up relatively inexpensively from eBay or pawnbrokers) then you will be able to take advantage of the device’s wireless connectivity and use it with Windows.
In order to get started, you will need the following:
- Internal Bluetooth or an external USB Bluetooth dongle
- A Nintendo Wiimote
Begin by ensuring that your Bluetooth receiver is correctly setup. A USB device should self-install on Windows 7, although you may need to install drivers from a disc. Check the dongle’s documentation for the full procedure.
Success with this depends on the Bluetooth receiver; some are unsuitable for accepting connections from a Wiimote. As such, you will need to do some testing.
(Before proceeding, please be aware that some USB Bluetooth adaptors will be unsuitable for this task. Whether or not the following steps work will depend on the build and chipset of the device you are using. Similarly some on-board Bluetooth receivers may prove problematic.)
Connecting Your WiiMote
To find out whether or not your Bluetooth is capable of communication with your Wiimote you will need to attempt to establish a basic connection.
When you’re ready to begin, open Start > Control Panel > Add a device and then hold the 1 and 2 buttons on your Wiimote. Windows should detect the device (as Nintendo RVL-CNT-01) and add it, before asking you to select a pairing option – you don’t need to choose a passcode to pair this type of device, however, so skip this.
To check that the Wiimote has been connected open Start > Control Panel > View devices and printers, then look for Nintendo RVL-CNT-01 listed under Devices. With the device successfully connected you can then begin configuration!
If You’re Using BlueSoleil
Some Bluetooth hardware requires the BlueSoleil drivers and software in order for it to be used with other applications and services. If the previous steps don’t work, try the following.
Go to the BlueSoleil support site, download the drivers and extract the ZIP file. Run Setup.exe and follow any instructions that are displayed until the process is completed. Note that you will need to restart Windows in order to proceed. BlueSoleil requires a 19.99 Euro payment in order for you to use the software to its full capacity, but the evaluation terms are sufficient for trying it out. Additionally if the driver software shipped with your Bluetooth adaptor then you shouldn’t need to pay this charge or download anything else from their website.
When you have restarted Windows, launch the BlueSoleil software by double-clicking the Bluetooth icon in the Windows System Tray. Next, hold the 1 and 2 buttons on your Wiimote and double click the orange sphere in the BlueSoleil window – your Nintendo Wiimote should be listed, so right-click this and select Search Services.
One icon – a mouse – will be highlighted at the top of the window. Double-click this and your device will then be listed as Nintendo RVL-CNT-01 – connection is complete, as indicated by the dotted green line between your device icon and the orange sphere!
With this stage complete, you can now use your Wiimote with Windows applications.
Using the WiiMote With Your Computer
In order to use the Wiimote in Windows, you will need to add the appropriate software.
You’re unlikely to have any aspirations to use the Wiimote for running Microsoft Word, but what about a bit of gaming?
There are two utilities that can help here. The first is GlovePie [No Longer Available], a free tool that is capable of acting as an interface for not just Wiimotes but also Kinect and PS3 controllers, among many others. This software has a lot of applications, perhaps worthy of its own dedicated post.
Second is Wiinremote, intended specifically for the Wiimote. After downloading the latest version of Wiinremote you will be able to configure your Wiimote to act as a wireless controller, not just for gaming but general use in Windows – this might prove useful when giving PowerPoint presentations, for instance.
Double-click Wiinremote.exe to proceed, where you will see a basic summary of the controls and the motion sensor. Note that without an IR receiver you will be unable to accurately use the Wiimote as a pointing device although the motion sensor does do a pretty good job of things.
Via Options > Preferences you can configure all of the options and button-mappings necessary to make the Wiimote your single-point user interface!
The Nintendo Wii has been a popular home console since 2006, and its controllers and user interface have revolutionized home video gaming. In turn, these developments have informed how we use out computers, leading to all manner of wireless and controller-less innovations.
Using a Nintendo Wiimote as a new user interface device for Windows is surprisingly easy and can have a number of uses from the usual gaming to more impressive applications such as conducting a PowerPoint presentation or using it as a remote control in a Windows home theatre.
Have you tried using your Wiimote with Windows? Do you prefer it for gaming, presentations or as a home theatre remote? Let us known in the comments below!
Image Credit: Alphathon