Wii sensor bar doesn’t send any signal to the Console

by

Yesterday we got the chance to get two wii next to each other. We were playing with one while updating the other but we only got one TV so we had to keep switch the video cables from one Wii to the other to keep tracking of the update progress. In this plug and unplug we realize that we weren’t switching the sensor bar: there was just one sensor bar out, always connected to the same Wii, but both consoles were able to receive the signal from each wiimotes.

This leads me to believe that the sensor bar doesn’t send any signal to the Wii, it just got the power from the console and send a pace signal to be picked by the wiimote and not the other way around, so most of the job is done by the wiimote.

VelvetHammer make a good point, the sensor bar is not the receiver the wiimote is. This way the batteries from the wiimotes don’t keep draining. The wiimote is the actual receiver.

.

sensor-bar.jpg

Ayer tuvimos la oportunidad de tener dos Wii uno al lado del otro. Mientras jugábamos con una de las consolas, actualizábamos la otra en Internet, sin embargo, solo contábamos con un TV razón por la cual cambiábamos el conector de audio y video de una consola a otra para revisar el avance de la actualización. En este proceso de conectar y desconectar nos dimos cuento que no estábamos desconectando la barra sensora del Wii pero aún así ambas consolas recibían la señal del puntero del control.

Esto me llevo a pensar que la barra no envía ninguna señal a la consola, solo obtiene energía de ella para enviar una señal a wiimote y no al revés. De esta forma el control hace todo el trabajo.

82 comentarios to “Wii sensor bar doesn’t send any signal to the Console”

  1. VelvetHammer Says:

    I would tend to agree with you. If you notice during the Wiimote Sesitivity adjustment, there are two dots that appear on the screen.

    Those two dots are probably the ends of the sensor bar IR blasting away at the Wiimote.

    Good find!

  2. SensorBarAnswer Says:

    the sensor bar is an added part to the wii. Just like the 360, the Wii is built in wireless sensor. the Sensor bar is used when there may be excess light or dark and the signal has weakened. otherwise the wii works fine without the sensor bar.

  3. Anónimo Says:

    The Wiimotes are bluetooth, I was always curious as to why an IR bar was needed.

  4. Emanuel Says:

    The Wiimote uses bluetooth tech so I was always curious as to why an IR bar was needed.

  5. robrueda Says:

    Without the sensor bar the pointer doesn’t work. It’s not just for the excess light environments.

  6. Tyrannous Says:

    sounds good to me!

  7. Colin Says:

    SensorBarAnswer- I dont think thats true … Im pretty sure what the article says is right – the sensor bar pumps out 2 points (of IR or whatever) that then gets picked up by the wiimote, thus telling the wii where it is pointing, how it is rotated (which can also be derrived from the gyroscopic information, I am guessing, since you can rotate the controller while NOT pointed at the TV, as demonstrated in wii sports and other games … baseball is a good example) and can also be used to determine distance from the screen (determined via the distance between the two dots)

  8. Adam Zey Says:

    From what I understand, the sensor bar is used primarily to recalibrate the accelerometers in the wiimote. They’re not perfectly accurate, and tend to drift away from the actual position, so whenever the wiimote can see the sensor bar, it recalibrates its position.

    This also ties into the pointing, since if they tried to do pointing without the sensor bar, the wiimote would be able to tell where it was pointing (by tilt), but not where it was relative to the TV (nor, likely, with as great accuracy even if you manually calibrated it by pointing at the TV due to the drift).

    It’d be interesting to experiment with it to see what happens to the pure motion aspect when it can’t see the sensor bar for recalibration, and what happens to pointing when the sensor bar is obscured.

  9. Colin Says:

    Adam Zey- thats an interesting idea … and quite possibly true … it would explain some of the “jittering” that you see every now and then when pointing on the wii … (when the accelerometers actually drift WHILE it is pointing at the screen … so it drifts and immediately recallibrates)

    The only reason I would be skeptical is because occlusion DOES cause the pointer to dissapear when pointed at the screen … try it out – just cover the front of your wiimote with your hand and the pointer dissapears … making me believe that there are two factors involved … the IR sensor for detecting things on the screen and the gyroscope / accelerometer whatever to detect tilt when NOT pointed at the screen.

    I have a feeling that the IR bar is more accurate that the gyroscope … which is why things like UI use the IR bar only

  10. SynMoo Says:

    You’ve all touched on it, but not quite.

    The sensor bar is comprised of 8 IR LEDs that are constant on as long as the Wii is on. Nothing more, nothing less.

    These 8 IR LEDs are visible to the Wiimote. The Wiimote uses their position in it’s view to determine where it is pointing.

    The sensor bar in no way has any relation to the accelerometer.

  11. Danny Says:

    Why is it called a sensor then?

  12. gokukuhn Says:

    What game were you playing? Some games don’t make use of the Wii’s pointing abilities and so just read the signals sent by the Wii from its gyrometer.

  13. robrueda Says:

    I was at the Wii Channel menu, so I was using the pointing abilities.

  14. Wiizard Says:

    Check this out:
    http://codeknot.blogspot.com/2006/06/how-wii-mote-works.html

    It’s speculation, but explains a way for this to work

  15. Jeff Says:

    You’re clearly have no idea what you’re talking about.

  16. Nec Says:

    Light guns (from the old NES and later the super scope on the SNES) used the refresh rate of the PC to be able to tell where the gun was pointing. LCD/Plasma tvs don’t have the refresh… only the older CRT tvs do. 480P vs 480i also causes problems. The sensor bar provides a signal for the remote to lock on to, just as the light guns did with your tv 15 years ago.

  17. jimux Says:

    You can check with just about any digital camera. Just take a picture of the sensor bar and the wiimote, only the ‘sensor’ will show anything.

  18. Colin Says:

    I like the page on speculation … and I do believe that there are 2 means of detection as the blogspot article reads … and i do believe that rotation one is far more … inaccurate (more jittery) than the pointer feature …

    I think it would be interesting if someone would / could figure out the best distance to stand from the sensor , since it isnt relative to television size

  19. kledge Says:

    @Jeff wow that was constructive

  20. Colin Says:

    Oh, and as a quick note to Nec … … what?? I dont think so- im pretty sure the light guns of the past used a photo resistor to determine whether the target was hit or not … lets use duckhunt as an example … when you would shoot, the screen would go black and a box around the duck would go white . The lightgun would then determine whether or not it was pointed at the white block or the black screen . if the gun picked up enough light, it would send a signal to the NES to say the duck was hit

  21. Danny Says:

    for chris:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_projection

  22. Witzz Says:

    Why doesn’t someone just check out Nintendo’s patent on the “sensor bar” and let us all know.

  23. Deribu Says:

    The Wii has the sensor bar to determine relative position of the wiimote and I presume the two antennas in the front of the wii that connect to this wireless card: https://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/oet/cf/eas/reports/ViewExhibitReport.cfm?mode=Exhibits&RequestTimeout=500&calledFromFrame=N&application_id=863355&fcc_id='EW4DWMW004

    are used to transmit the accelerometer data and such. I’m betting that the Wiimote also does all of the calculations for its positioning based on the IR Led’s of the sensor bar which it then sends to the Wii over wireless. Either that, or it captures the data and then sends it to the Wii for processing.

    Anyway, pure speculation.

  24. Matt Harlum Says:

    Infrared emitters

    A new method was developed to compensate for display technologies other than CRT. It relies on one or several infrared light emitters placed near the screen, and one IR sensor on the muzzle of the gun. When the trigger is pressed, the gun sends the intensity of the IR beam it detects. Since this intensity depends upon both distance and relative angle to the screen, angle sensors are located in the gun. This way a trigonometric equation system is solved, and the muzzle’s 3D position relative to the screen is calculated. Then, by projecting the muzzle on the screen with the measured angles the impact point is determined.

    A simpler variant is commonly used in arcades, where there are no angle detectors but 4 IR sensors. However, this can prove inaccurate when shooting from certain distances and angles, since the calculation of angles and 3D position has a larger margin of error.

    Other variants include 3 or more emitters with different infrared wavelengths and the same number of sensors. With this method and proper calibration three or more relative angles are obtained, thus not needing angle detectors to position the gun.

    Sometimes, the sensors are placed around the screen and the emitter on the gun, but calculations are similar.

    This family of methods are used on Wii and modern arcade systems.

  25. Matt Harlum Says:

    The sensor bar is used for non-crt displays, and possibly crt’s too depending on wether Nintendo added support for scanline positioning with the Photoresistor.

    below is from wiki,

    Infrared emitters

    A new method was developed to compensate for display technologies other than CRT. It relies on one or several infrared light emitters placed near the screen, and one IR sensor on the muzzle of the gun. When the trigger is pressed, the gun sends the intensity of the IR beam it detects. Since this intensity depends upon both distance and relative angle to the screen, angle sensors are located in the gun. This way a trigonometric equation system is solved, and the muzzle’s 3D position relative to the screen is calculated. Then, by projecting the muzzle on the screen with the measured angles the impact point is determined.

    A simpler variant is commonly used in arcades, where there are no angle detectors but 4 IR sensors. However, this can prove inaccurate when shooting from certain distances and angles, since the calculation of angles and 3D position has a larger margin of error.

    Other variants include 3 or more emitters with different infrared wavelengths and the same number of sensors. With this method and proper calibration three or more relative angles are obtained, thus not needing angle detectors to position the gun.

    Sometimes, the sensors are placed around the screen and the emitter on the gun, but calculations are similar.

    This family of methods are used on Wii and modern arcade systems.

  26. Kyle » Blog Archive » Wii sensor bar doesn’t send any signal to the Console Says:

    […] The sensor bar doesn ’t send any signal to the Wii, it just got the power from the console and send a pace signal to be picked by the wiimote and not the other way around, so most of the job is done by the wiimoteread more | digg story […]

  27. Nasir Says:

    Its amazing.

  28. Prime News Blog » Blog Archive » Wii sensor bar doesn’t send any signal to the Console Says:

    […] The sensor bar doesn ’t send any signal to the Wii, it just got the power from the console and send a pace signal to be picked by the wiimote and not the other way around, so most of the job is done by the wiimoteread more | digg story […]

  29. Chris Sack Says:

    The Sensor bar just flashes infrared lights, and a camera in the Wii Remote picks that up, and reports where it sees the light to the console. The sensor bar’s only purpose is for the Wii menu and games that use a pointer (cursor, crosshair) in the game. Check out this post to see a video of how you can use the pointer without the sensor bar.

  30. BrokenCrystal Says:

    “The Sensor bar just flashes infrared lights, and a camera in the Wii Remote picks that up”

    Really, a camera? LOL I don’t think this is correct. Maybe an infrared receiver (LED type). If I point the controller at my face, is it secretly being broadcasted to Nintendo? Can they see inside my house? Guess Nintendo will not need to sell a cam for the Wii, it already comes built in the controllers. LOL

  31. Neil Says:

    The sensor bar is just 6 or so LED’s that are always on. The front of the remote has a 1024×768 “Digital camera” on it which takes pictures. Based on the location of the 2 dots (Made up of 3 LED’s Y centimeters apart) they can determine the location of the controller in the room.

    So no, the sensor bar doesn’t do anything in particular other then emit IR light.

  32. i could say more » Blog Archive » On the Wii and the PS3 Says:

    […] An interesting discussion (read the article and the comments below) about the Wii sensor bar and how it works. […]

  33. Neil Says:

    It just works, and that keeps me happy.🙂

    Whatever uses less batteries !

  34. Michael Says:

    The sensor bar is for triangulating the cursor on the screen, nothing more. The blue tooth detects the movement of the controler and the button pressing, but if you were to play Z:TP for example without the sensor bar, you’d have trouble aiming.

  35. Wii News Roundup « Rushi’s Ramblings Says:

    […] An interesting find: Wii sensor bar doesn’t send any signals to the console (via WordPress top posts). […]

  36. Chris Says:

    If its works then thats what counts. Zelda looks great btw!

  37. michael Says:

    this very clever doe

  38. Rollin Says:

    If i’m reiterating, sorry, but i’m not reading all that.

    The sensor bar only allows you to point at the screen, the buttons and motion sensing are handled by the remote’s bluetooth communications. If you unplug the bar, your cursor disappears. If you cover the top of the remote, the cursor disappears, too. The sensor bar is only for the pointing ability.

    If i didn’t help squat, sorry. I tried.

  39. cppenguin Says:

    yea i saw that when i first played my wii i took off the sensor bar and it played the same way it was fine!

  40. Ituloy angsulong Says:

    Thing keeps getting better and better

  41. Yeng Constantino Says:

    This works perfectly to me

  42. jason Says:

    This explains everything: http://www.engadget.com/2006/11/21/wii-sensor-bar-hax0red/

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  45. gamechaser001 Says:

    While some of you got it, let me just clear some things up

    First, the Sensor bar does nothing more than iluminate a row of LEDS (total of 10 I think, 5 left, 5 right), all it does is provide light, that is invisable to the naked eye (IR) as to not glare in your eyes, that the Wii-mote picks up and uses for triangulation for pointing and crosshair purposes, not for calibrating

    The Wii-mote has a sensing chip that detects movement by a sensitive spring, that tells the Wii which direction the Wii-mote is facing, the Nunchuck also has a similar chip, due to the sensitivity of the detection spring, there is no need for calibration, this is appearent in games like Exite Truck and Cars where the stearing is based completely on the movement detection chip, that is why when you hold it side ways and cover the IR sensor on the Wii-mote, the controller still stays calibrated

    It dosen’t matter of your television is CRT, LCD, or plasma, no televisions allow you to use the Wii-mote without a Sensor bar the Wii-mote required 2 seprate sources of light, it can be light from any infra-red emmiter, from a flourecent or indicesent (

  46. Declan Says:

    The wiimote uses bluetooth technology to send to the Wii – Unplug the sensor bar and it still works, No IR is needed.

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  49. Gaming News » Wii sensor bar doesn’t send any signal to the Console Says:

    […] to be picked by the wiimote and not the other way around, so most of the job is done by the wiimoteread more | digg […]

  50. Anónimo Says:

    You help me SO much I cant describe it in words. I will visit your website again. Thank you!

  51. George Sherman Says:

    Thank you, because I lost my sensor bar and was still able to play the Wii. I didn’t know you could do that

  52. johnsh4ft Says:

    you guys are all way too high… set your wii-mote down facing your sensor bar. Pick up your sensor bar, note that the cursor moves. The sensor bar is used to calibrate the cursors position. You do not need it to play games that do not use it. That is all. There is no validity to the statement ”you do not need the sensor bar.” Try and play R.E.4 with out the sensor bar, won’t happen. Same with Internet Channel.

  53. johnsh4ft Says:

    correction, your all way to high, except for gamechaser.

  54. Peter Gamez » Wii sensor bar doesn’t send any signal to the Console Says:

    […] read more | digg story […]

  55. alex Says:

    actually my wii i played the wii without a sensor bar and it works perfectely fine even when i point the game works just fine like i have a sensor pluged in but i dont so the wii remote is the actual reciver

  56. Maximus Says:

    I would like to see a continuation of the topic

  57. JJ Says:

    Actually, the Wiimote has a small one megapixel camera at the end that searches for the IR lights in the sensor bar…

  58. OMIGHTY1 Says:

    Yeah, I’ve proven that it doesn’t send anything to or get anything from the Wiimote. I connected my Wiimote to my PC, and using WiiMouse, I used it as a mouse. All I had to do was move my sensor bar in front of my monitor and point at the screen. All the sensor bar is is a big infrared light. Anything of the same width and has infrared lights on both sides can be a sensor bar; even two medium-sized candles!

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