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Nintendo's Wii U GamePad has nine-axis precision
Nintendo's Wii U GamePad has nine-axis precision
November 28, 2012 | By Mike Rose

November 28, 2012 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Design

How does the Wii U GamePad achieve such satisfyingly responsive motion control? The company behind the Wii U GamePad's motion sensors recently shed some light on the issue.

The Wii U's tablet-like controller has a nine-axis understanding of its orientation, according to PNI Sensor Corporation, the company that produced the magnetic sensor for Nintendo's new controller.

The souped up technology is great news for studios looking to build games for the Wii U that require tight controls -- Oh says that the added precision helps eliminate the shakiness of the original Wii's cursor.

The geomagnetic sensor in the device has a 15 times higher resolution than those found in cell phones, and together with the gyroscope and accelerometer, reads the controller's orientation across all three axes - hence, nine-axis functionality.

"[The gyroscope and accelerometer] are good at tracking relativistic change," PNI chief executive Becky Oh told GamesBeat. "But it doesn’t tell you absolutely where you're pointing and where the pointer is."

"What the magnetic sensor does is use the Earth's magnetic field as a reference. It can always guide [the GamePad] back to what the absolute position is."

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