Introduction: Make Your Own Balance Board (and Be on Your Way to a Wii Fit)
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
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
Step 4: 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
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
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.