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The Technology Behind Nintendo's Wii

Boot Camp feature for Monday, December 25, 2006

The technology behind Nintendo's Wii. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Nintendo has had a hit on its hands with its new game console called the Wii. The company has focused on a whimsical interface…and motion sensing controllers…that can be swung like a baseball bat or golf club. The chips that help to make that magic happen are made by STMicroelectronics. The company's Benedetto Vigna …

"This is a piece of silicon…a small structure…that are able to detect movement in any direction in a space…in such a way that the movement of anyone of us can be detected and reproduced on the display."

The same technology is used by Lenovo to detect if a notebook computer is being dropped…to protect the data on the machine. With the Nintendo controllers….and game play…the chips have to determine how hard you swing a bat….or roll a bowling ball…and the direction as well…

"You know along the direction, you know how hard you are hitting the ball and also important, if you hit the ball, because you can miss and we are able to measure the direction." And you've been able to do this in an affordable way because each controller has to have this in there.. "Exactly. Any controller has one of these and our biggest innovation in our company is to make accessible this technology to the wide consumer market."

And judging from the response so far, consumers like what they see. The days of sitting on the floor…and playing video games with just your thumbs…are over…at least when it comes to the Wii. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.