View Full Version : Help! epic wiimot osculator fail

12-17-2010, 07:09 AM
as usual, everything worked ok during rehearsals but completely went to hell during the actual performance. I could really use some help, we have one more performance tomorrow night of this show and I'd like it to not be an utter catastrophe

here's the setup:

3 wiimotes
osculator 2.10.2
macbook pro, osx 10.6
max/msp 5

the problem: persistent disconnection. it's unpredictable; we can always get all of the them to connect, but they may disconnect suddenly after 2 minutes or after 20. because of the nature of the performance it's not easy to do a reconnection (the wiimotes are integrated into the dancers' costumes).

range should be ok, we've tested it extensively. batteries are fresh. in the end the inability to maintain connection meant cutting the wiimotes out of the piece in the middle of the evening and faking it from the sound booth.

any suggestions on how to troubleshoot would be much appreciated.


12-17-2010, 10:15 AM
Hi skull,

I already experienced the situation of being on stage and nothing works … a nightmare.

I think we can rule out the driver in OSCulator: once connected, a Wiimote should not be dropped without a reason.
There must be a difference between the environment the Wiimotes were in during rehearsal and during the performance.

First of all I would suggest that you keep only data reports that you really need : for example if you don't use IR, turn off IR (x,y) and IR Raw from the Wiimote drawer. Not using IR will also increase your battery life.

From other discussions I had with users that had the same problem during a live performance, I suspect that the audience's cellphones have an impact on the Wiimotes communications: nowadays every phone have a built-in bluetooth adapter, and if the computer hosting the Wiimotes is not far from the audience (< 20m) there are big chances that the receivers will struggle to find a free frequency range (bluetooth is a frequency hopping protocol (http://www.swedetrack.com/images/bluet11.htm)). I don't know if the GSM or UTMS protocols can affect bluetooth, but I would not be surprised if they did.

When doing some tests to stream audio to the Wiimotes, I have noticed that the quality of the audio streaming was really impacted by the presence of other wireless receivers in the range. Therefore I would suggest if possible at all that you put your computer away from the audience, but near the dancers, and if at all possible ask the audience to turn off their cell phones before the show.

I hope this will help, please let me know how the show went.


12-17-2010, 05:00 PM
thanks for the suggestions, we'll give that a shot tonight. usually we don't have trouble connecting, but rather with losing the connection periodically. but after reading through that information on how bluetooth works, let me see if I have this right: during communication, the device continually hops between frequencies, so if there are a lot of other bluetooth devices doing the same thing in close range it may not be able to find an available frequency during the hopping?

during the performance we also ended up connecting a secret wiimote for the person operating the laptop to perform with under the table to make it sound like the dancers were still operating it. this worked ok, and that wiimote didn't have any connection issues; so it sounds like the proximity is pretty relevant.

the audience and dancers are pretty close unfortunately, because it's staged in the round. the max distance from the computer to the dancers is around 17 or 18 meters.

is there a difference between hard and soft sync?

one strange thing was that sometimes the wiimote would think it was connected (according to the indicator lights), but osculator would show it as disconnected. even stranger, sometimes even when it appeared to be connected, no data was actually coming through.

another thing I'm wondering about: at some point in the afternoon I think the lighting designer was trying to connect another wiimote to his computer to control his projections; I don't think he was doing this during the performance, but if he was, could that have something to do with it? he's in a balcony on the far end of the room.

anyway, we'll do some more experiments tonight, hopefully will have better luck.

12-21-2010, 11:05 AM
I think 17 or 18 meters is definitely a large distance if you are using the built-in bluetooth adapter of the Mac.
The the more you have bluetooth interferences, the more the usable distance decreases.

When the Wiimote loses the bluetooth connection with the computer, it does not shut down right away, but it stays on trying to restore the connection. If that situation happens, press the power button for 5 seconds or press the hard reset switch on the back.

Regarding discovery: I am not sure there is a difference between pressing the hard reset switch and button 1&2 except that you can use the hard switch button when 1&2 are not responsive due to a disconnected Wiimote.

I don't think that several Wiimotes side by side cause problems, I have seen users with a dozen Wiimotes on several computers without problems.