Researchers from Delft University of Technology have assembled inexpensive alternatives to costly scientific sensors using the Nintendo Wiimote.
Luxemburg’s team aimed the Wiimote at a problem that can be very tricky for hydrologists: measuring evaporation on a body of water. The easiest way to measure evaporation is to place pans of water near the lake, or whatever water is being studied, and put pressure sensors in them. The sensors record the drop in pressure as more and more water disappears. But this equipment can run $500 or more, and still the measurements aren’t accurate because the water in the pan gets warmer on land than it would in the lake. Alternatively, measuring the level of water in a pan that is floating in a lake is also tricky because the pan will inevitably be moving.