Your Arm May Be The Ideal Controller

Your Arm May Be The Ideal Controller
February 1, 2017

With interest and accessibility to both wearable tech and virtual reality approaching an all-time high, three students from Cornell University — [Daryl Sew, Emma Wang, and Zachary Zimmerman] — seek to turn your body into the perfect controller.

That is the end goal, at least. Their prototype consists of three Kionix tri-axis accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer sensors (at the hand, elbow, and shoulder) to trace the arm’s movement. Relying on a PC to do most of the computational heavy lifting, a PIC32 in a t-shirt canister — hey, it’s a prototype! — receives data from the three joint positions, transmitting them to said PC via serial, which renders a useable 3D model in a virtual environment. After a brief calibration, the setup tracks the arm movement with only a little drift in readings over a few minutes.

[Sew, Wang and Zimmerman] see their project as an easy-to-implement alternative to the high-end systems currently extant in the gaming, virtual reality, fitness and medical industries. We can’t wait ’till we can combine this with tracking individual fingers.


If seeing this project has warmed you up to the topic of rapid prototyping, check out [Ben Krasnow’s] advice on the topic from his SuperCon talk. We’d also like to point out [Bodo Hoenen’s]  talk about a system that uses electromyography to pick up the movement of the muscles in the arm.

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