Tiny Springs in the Controller!
How does the PLAYSTATION 3’s SIXAXIS controller do it’s sensing? Tiny springs, that’s how. Same thing goes for the Nintendo’s motion-sensing controller.
When you wave around the new Nintendo controller, two tiny, flat pieces of silicon inside it, each weighing about a millionth of a gram, flex against silicon springs that hold them in place.
The movements are minute, or to put it another way, they’re on the scale of 10 to 100 hydrogen atoms stacked side by side.
But these tiny movements can be measured with incredible accuracy. A charge is applied between the moving pieces of silicon and two nearby sensors. Faint fluctuations in that charge, as small as that of 10 electrons, are picked up by a chip that translates it into an understanding of how the controller is moving.
Cool stuff, huh? It was funny that I saw this article just two days after my Dad wondered about how this stuff works.