Gaming Reviews, News, Tips and More.
We may earn a commission from links on this page

How, Exactly, Does The Wii's MotionPlus Work?

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

It promises 1:1 control, and from what we've seen of it in action, it's doing a pretty good job of delivering. But just how, exactly, does the Wii's new MotionPlus system work? To be honest, we're still not 100% on it, as the jargon's of a technical nature, but the gist is that the device is basically a multi-axis gyroscope, which when combined with the Wii's existing sensor bar and accelerometer allows the console to finally, between the three components, determine true 1:1 motion. The gyro is made by a company called InvenSense, with the key innovation being that multi-axis gyroscopes of such a precise nature are normally only used in things like a car's automatic stability control system. This one, however, has been shrunk to a small enough size so as to allow it to be used with a Wii Remote. This shrinkage and power comes at a price: expect your battery life to be reduced while using the new add-on.

InvenSense™ IDG-600 Motion Sensing Solution Showcased in Nintendo'S New Wii MotionPlus Accessory

World's Leading Multi-axis MEMS Rate Gyroscope Enhances Performance of Latest "Wii MotionPlus" Accessory

SUNNYVALE, Calif.-(BUSINESS WIRE)-InvenSense Inc., a leading provider of MEMS-based motion sensing solutions for image stabilization, dead reckoning navigation, 3D remote control, and gaming devices, today announced that its IDG-600 multi-axis MEMS rate gyroscope has started shipping in mass production quantities to Nintendo for its Wii MotionPlus accessory. Gesture based interfaces are quickly becoming the standard for many feature-rich consumer electronic products. Utilizing InvenSense's unique motion sensing capabilities, customers of the new generation of Wii MotionPlus controllers will enjoy an immersive gaming experience with motion control never before possible in a video game. The Wii MotionPlus accessory attaches to the end of the Wii Remote and, combined with the accelerometer and the sensor bar, allows for more comprehensive tracking of a player's arm position and orientation. In the new Wii Sports Resort product from Nintendo, for example, the ability to throw a disc through the air and control the angle of flight is now possible.

Conventional MEMS gyroscopes, which are the key enabling technology that can sense absolute rotational motion inputs, are typically used in commercial automotive electronic stability control and GPS applications, where their larger size, high power consumption and costs are accommodated. InvenSense has introduced an entirely new class of high performance silicon-based MEMS rate gyroscopes that offers smaller package sizes, lower power consumption, and lower price points suitable for consumer markets. The addition of InvenSense's multi-axis rate gyroscope solution to the Wii MotionPlus accessory allows high precision 3D tracking of rapid gaming gestures.

"The popularity of Wii in large part is based on its popular motion sensing interface and InvenSense's MEMS rate gyroscope represents a truly disruptive technology that possesses inherent manufacturing and high performance advantages that drives the need for a new generation of Wii Remote," said Genyo Takeda, General Manager of Nintendo's Integrated Research and Development Division. "Nintendo selected the IDG-600 for its ability to measure large dynamic motions, high shock resistance, and accuracy for sensing the fast moving arm and hand motions required to support exciting new game titles."

MEMS offers miniaturized sensing solutions to meet the ideal performance, size and cost requirements of consumer applications. A key advantage of MEMS technology, as compared to its quartz and piezo-ceramic counterparts, is its ability to incorporate 3D mechanical features directly into single crystal silicon substrates while easily and cost effectively integrating it with CMOS electronics. InvenSense pioneered its patented manufacturing platform, known as Nasiri-Fabrication, which enabled the company to bring the world's first and smallest integrated multi-axis gyroscopes to consumer products. Using Nasiri-Fabrication allows for the integration of MEMS and CMOS structures at the wafer level with a proprietary bonding technology resulting in several thousand gyroscopes simultaneously produced on a single wafer.

"We are honored to be selected as a strategic supplier by Nintendo, the leader in consumer gaming, and provide them with the solution that met their needs," said Steven Nasiri, founder and CEO of InvenSense. "This accomplishment is credited to our highly innovative team here at InvenSense. We will continue our development efforts to bring about leading edge motion sensing solutions with an even higher level of integration, improved cost and performance, and added functionality to address the huge demand for motion-enabled gesture recognition."

For more information on InvenSense motion sensing solutions, visit

About InvenSense

InvenSense is the leading provider of motion sensing solutions for mobile applications, with proven technology and millions of units shipped to major OEMs worldwide. The company's patented motion sensing technology and it novel Nasiri-Fabrication addresses many emerging mass-market applications such as gaming, image stabilization, and smart user interfaces that use hand motion and gesture-based commands for mobile applications, such as, smart phones, digital cameras, 3D remote control devices and more. InvenSense's corporate offices are located in Sunnyvale, Calif. More information can be found at

InvenSense, IDG-600 and the InvenSense logo are trademarks of InvenSense

Wii and Wii Remote are trademarks of Nintendo

[via Gizmodo]