Instructables

Make your own Balance Board (and be on your way to a Wii Fit)

Picture of Make your own Balance Board (and be on your way to a Wii Fit)
Make your own Balance Board or BalanceTile (as we called it), as an interface for various games and physical fitness training, using I-CubeX technology. Design your own application and go way beyond the Wii Fit ! The video provides an overview and shows an application where your balance is used as a navigational control for a QuickTimeVR movie. It's actually really easy to use the BalanceTile as a musical controller because I-CubeX technology configures it into a MIDI controller by default.


 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: What you need

You will need the following items to complete this instructable:

1. 4 Contact pressure sensors, eg. the TouchMicro-10
2. Wooden MDF tile, approx. 1.5 x 1.5 ft x 3/8" (45 x 45 x 1 cm)
3. Sensor to computer interface (with configuration and mapping software), either wired or wireless:
a. Wireless sensor to computer interface, eg. the I-CubeX Wi-microDig (needs Bluetooth interface on the computer)
b. Wired sensor to computer interface, eg. the I-CubeX StarterPack combined with a MIDI interface such as the MIDISport 1x1
4. Computer

Step 2: Place the sensors

Place the four contact pressure sensors on each corner of the tile and secure the cables with tape and zipties. Use epoxy glue to attach the sensor to the wood - don't use double-side tape because it will hamper the operation of the sensor. Place a rubber support over the sensor (again, don't use double-sided tape) to lift the tile as a whole from the floor and provide space for the cables.

Step 3: Connect sensors

Picture of Connect sensors
Connect the sensors to the wireless sensor interface, eg. Wi-microDig, or wired sensor interface, eg. StarterPack (now available only for Instructablers for $199, just ask us). Powerup !

Step 4: Configure sensor interface

Picture of Configure sensor interface
Using the configuration editor software of the sensor interface, setup the sensor interface to sample the four sensors at around 100 Hz (10 ms sample interval). If using the I-CubeX StarterPack, see its get started video for a detailed explanation on how to do that.

Step 5: Read the sensor data

Picture of Read the sensor data
At this point you can do a number of things with your sensor data.

1. In the I-CubeX editor, map the sensor signals to virtual joysticks, and read the data into your favourite gaming software environment. If this software environment allows for some processing of the data, even better.

2. Read the data directly from the Bluetooth serial port (if using the Wi-microSystem) or MIDI port (if using the StarterPack), into your application.

You will probably still have to do some processing of the data to detect whether your balance is moving from left to right, front to back etc. You can use any programming environment for that, eg. Max. In the video we show how the data is applied as a control for a QuickTimeVR movie. The Max patch we used for that is here

Step 6: Application

Picture of Application
Once you have the right output values you can now use them as controls for (flash) animations that give you feedback about your balance, show you what to do next in a fitness exercise program with small animations of the suggested movements, display dance movements, gaming environments, etc. See also this video about the new Wii Fit.

For musicians: it's actually really easy to use the BalanceTile as a musical controller because I-CubeX technology configures it into a MIDI controller by default. So stand on this BalanceTile while you play your guitar/sax/base/.. and tweak the notes you're hitting.

We hope this instructable gets you going ! Drop us a note if you have questions and/or suggestions ! We'd also really enjoy your collaboration on this project so feel free to get in touch.
matstermind5 years ago
what about sensors from an old electric bathroom scale?
I-CubeX (author) 7 years ago
You are right, so the title has been corrected. We plan to expand the instructable to include more detailed info on making the Wii Fit part. Shouldn't be too hard ... perhaps it could be put together with the help of others here ? We could put it up that fast because we did this BalanceTile project last year so all the materials were there already. In fact we wonder if Nintendo is spying on us !
msthursday7 years ago
That was very fast, but I was disappointed that there wasn't info for how to make the "fit" part of it. It might be more accurate to say this was a computer connected balance tile without Wii Fit.
Crash21087 years ago
That was fast...