Iowa State Researcher Uses Wii Remotes to Teach Lessons in Computer Engineering

Iowa State University News Service (05/05/10) Krapfl, Mike 

Iowa State University (ISU) students are writing software that uses a Wii remote to collect data about the spinning pedals of a bicycle and convert that into useful information about cadence and the rider’s movement and efficiency. The assignment is designed to teach students how to collect, process, and use data, says ISU computer engineering professor Tom Daniels, who was recently honored by the Technology Association of Iowa for Best Innovation in Teaching. “The familiarity of the gaming device coupled with the mystery of how the Wii remote functions captures the imagination, as well as engages, the freshman students,” says ISU systems analyst Larry Brennan. Using a Wii remote as a teaching tool is part of a new teaching method for two introductory, problem-solving classes, Daniels says. The idea was to find new ways to boost student interest and retention in computer engineering. Daniels wrote new software, called Wii Wrap, which enables the Wii remote to send data from its sensors to a computer instead of a game console.

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