A View from Brad King

Computer, Game-Console Hacks Run Roomba

Let the game-console hacking begin. The latest craze: hacking the Wii controller to turn it into a robot remote control.

  • December 29, 2006

The holiday season is almost over. The presents are all unwrapped. The latest game consoles and platforms have all been hooked up. Now comes the fun part: ripping the systems apart and adding new–and unauthorized–upgrades.

There’s a long tradition of game-console modding–far too long to go into here. However, Free Software magazine has a list of some of the more innovative game-console hacks, although most of these are for creating Linux-based systems using traditional consoles. And there’s always the book Game Console Hacking: Having Fun While Voiding Your Warranty, which is a good place to start if you’re looking to crack open your newest toy.

Nintendo’s Wii is the latest console to face the hacker onslaught. Nintendo’s new controller may have some manufacturing flaws, but that hasn’t stopped users from tearing it apart and adding new functionalities. The latest, seen in this video, is a Wiimote-controlled Roomba robot.

From the YouTube page:

As you might expect, tilting the Wiimote forward and backward causes Roomba to move in those directions, while tilting it side to side sends the vacuum spinning either clockwise or counter-clockwise.

However, Roomba controls aren’t limited to Nintendo’s game console. There’s an entire site dedicated to hacking the little robot, including an entire list of Roomba-Mac hacks.

Of course, we aren’t here to discuss robot hacks: we’re here to discuss game-console hacks. There are sites dedicated to all of the major platforms that have been released: Wii, Xbox 360, Game Boy Advance, and the PlayStation Portable.

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