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While I'm not a gamer (I'd much rather hack at my various projects), every now and then I still like to entertain myself with a game or two. Doing that on the couch with friends is even better: in the living room there's a fridge with beer nearby and a nice and big image courtesy of the digital projector I have. The WiiMotes I use as a remote control work fairly well for playing Mame on my HTPC, but I actually do own a real Wii too. Making the Wii sensor bar work on the distances and the screen size the projector gives can be quite the hassle, though: you can't just put the thing on top of the television set and be done with it.

While some people think the Wii sensor-bar is an intelligent thing sending data back to the Wii, in reality it is not. It's just a bunch of always-on infrared LEDs in both ends, giving the little IR camera inside the WiiMote two points of reference. Using the camera's image, the Wii can then calculate where you're pointing at. If you want, you can even replace the Wii sensor bar with two candles standing 30cm apart; the Wii will pick that up just fine.

In my setup, a Wii sensor bar would be too far from the wall I project the image on, so for my HTPC-setup I already had an infrared-LED-array mounted to the wall. When I got the Wii itself, I couldn't use that: while my HTPC was quite happy working with just one source of infrared light, the Wii needs two of them to work. Adding another LED-array wasn't an option: first of all, I bought the device ages ago and couldn't find a second one of that model and second of all: only one already looks ugly enough sitting in the middle of an otherwise virgin white wall. So until now I just unplugged the IR array and put the sensor bar on my table pointing my WiiMote at that.

Anyway, after tripping over the cable to the sensor bar for the gazilionth time, I decided I had to invent something better: the sensor-bar had to go. But how could I make infrared light appear to be coming from somewhere without placing a physical object there? And then I took a long, hard look at my projector...

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