Research Retrospective – Play SolidWorks II

Still on the theme of determining whether a game-controller is a suitable device for driving SolidWorks, an investigation from a few years ago at the DS SolidWorks UK Cambridge Office, explored using the Wiimote game-controller.

The Wii is a game console from Nintendo. One of its unique features is the wireless controller, the Wii Remote, also commonly known as the Wiimote, which is a handheld pointing device. The device can detect motion and rotation in three dimensions using a combination of accelerometers (3-axis motion sensors) and infrared detection to determine its position and movement in (3D) space. The controller also has a rumble (vibration) feature and an internal speaker.

Communication with the game console uses Bluetooth technology which enables the wireless signal to be detected within 10 metres of the console. The device can operate as a pointing device when used within 5 meters of the screen.


Additional devices can be connected to the Wiimote using a port at the base. One of these devices is the Nunchuck which contains an accelerometer and has a joystick and 2 button controls.

The Wiimote can be used as a pointing device or in a wave motion, tilting the device up or down. It is also possible to use a rolling motion and to move the device towards or away from the screen.


Although designed to operate in conjunction with the Wii Game console, there is no obvious reason why the Wiimote cannot be used instead of a mouse for driving software applications. Data can be transmitted between the wiimote and the PC using standard Bluetooth technology.

Preliminary testing established the feasibility of using the Wiimote to drive SolidWorks but the prototype put together as a Proof of Concept has not been developed further since then. It does appear, however, that it could be used for model and view manipulation.

Here’s a short video clip showing the very first test run.

What do you think?

Would you use your Wiimote for driving SolidWorks?

What about other PC applications?

Matthew West

SolidWorks alumnus. I like plate reverb, Rat pedals, Thai curry, New Weird fiction, my kids, Vespas, Jazzmasters, my wife & Raiders of the Lost Ark. Not necessarily in that order.