The Wii controller is sweeping the nation, while a portion of the nation is sweeping up the glass from broken things when you accidentally let go of it. But how do they work? Scienceline explains the advances in accelerometer technology, and how the Wii controller made them work for fun.
The accelerometers used in the Nintendo controller are thinner than a penny, small enough to fit twelve on a postage stamp, and sell for under $6 a piece. They can accurately measure forces more than three times stronger than the pull of gravity in three directions - up and down, side to side, and forward and back. The chips also use gravity to determine the orientation of the controller, whether you're holding it vertically like a golf club or horizontally like a gun.