Interview with Johnny Lee

Fun & Games Technology
Interview with Johnny Lee

Alan Parekh, of HackedGadgets, has a short interview with Johnny Lee, the computer engineer whose Wii remote hacks we (and everybody else on the InterTubes) have blogged about. Johnny also created the popular $14 Video Camera Stabilizer project featured in the premier issue of MAKE.

AP: Your Wii projects have been taking the Web by storm! What attracted you to the Wiimote as your interaction device of choice?

JL: Well, I was excited by the Wii Remote ever since the original press release about its capabilities was public. Ironically, I was an intern at Microsoft the summer before the Xbox 360 was launched. Several internal people, including me, were still trying to convince the Xbox group they should put an accelerometer into the controller. That, of course, didn’t happen. The Wii remote is one of the most sophisticated input devices available today and an amazing piece of engineering containing an accelerometer, camera, and wireless communication. Combined with the ease in which you can connect it to a computer made it an obvious choice for experimentation.

AP: Have you had any discussions with Nintendo? Do you think they could use some of your techniques to enhance their console?

JL: I have not formally had any contact with Nintendo about this. I speculate that the Nintendo engineers who developed the controller probably knew of this technique, but probably passed on the idea or were saving it for a later product launch. But, these ideas can definitely be used in a Wii title assuming they would be willing to bundle a little bit of new hardware with it. I know several game developers are starting to look at the idea. Hopefully, the game concepts will make it all the way to market.

Interview with Johnny Lee – Link


  • Head tracking with the Wiimote – Link
  • Track fingers with the Wiimote – Link
  • Improved Steadicam for under $40 – Link
  • $14 Video Camera Stabilizer by Johnny Lee. You don’t have $10,000 to spend on a Steadicam? Make this ultra-low-cost video camera stabilizer and see how much better your video shots turn out. MAKE 01 – Page 84.

6 thoughts on “Interview with Johnny Lee

  1. Peter says:

    I wouldn’t exactly call the wiimote “sophisticated” but it is a very interesting and original concept.

  2. Sam says:

    It’s Alan Parekh, not Adam

  3. Gareth Branwyn says:

    Thanks for the typo catch, Sam.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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