Wiimote manufacturing

Ming Leu, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Missouri S&T, is using remote-control devices from the popular Wii gaming console and putting them to work to improve manufacturing processes. He’s using the devices — called Wiimotes — to record an assembly process in hopes of improving the way companies train workers, shortening cycle time, reducing workplace injuries and helping manufacturers improve the way they communicate with plants all over the globe.


What makes the Wii device so appealing to Leu is its wireless communication, which covers a good measurement range, and low cost. Just as gamers can use the Wiimote to simulate the movements of a tennis racquet or bowling ball, so a properly situated Wiimote camera can capture movements of an assembly-line worker throughout a variety of processes.

“The Wiimotes allow us to easily capture motion in the assembly process wirelessly,” says Leu, the Keith and Pat Bailey Missouri Distinguished Professor of Integrated Product Manufacturing. “We can track that motion, analyze the processes and make improvements based on the data generated through the motion-capture.”
The Wiimote camera works by detecting an infrared signal that latches onto light-emitting diode (LED) sensors and tracks the movement. In Leu’s process, workpieces, assembly tools, robots or other machines, as well as assembly-line workers, would be equipped with LEDs that the Wiimote cameras can track. Any number of infrared cameras based on the Wiimote could be mounted throughout a factory to capture and record movements.
Leu is exploring the feasibility of this idea by recording a manufacturing process under way in his home department of mechanical and aerospace engineering. A group of students in that department is fabricating a microsatellite as part of a design project.

Around the Puck

Q&A: Miners got game

What was the most memorable sports team during your time on campus? As part of his research for the S&T 150th history book, Larry Gragg, Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor emeritus of history and political science, asked you to share your memories. Here are a few of your answers.

[Read More...]

Honoring new academy members

In October, 12 alumni and friends were inducted into Missouri S&T academies. Academy membership recognizes careers of distinction and invites members to share their wisdom, influence and resources with faculty and students. Some academies hold induction ceremonies in the fall, others in the spring.

[Read More...]

Boosting cyber-physical security

A wide array of complex systems that rely on computers — from public water supply systems and electric grids to chemical plants and self-driving vehicles — increasingly come under not just digital but physical attacks. Bruce McMillin, professor and interim chair of computer science at Missouri S&T, is looking to change that by developing stronger safeguards […]

[Read More...]

MXene discovery could improve energy storage

In spite of their diminutive size, 2-D titanium carbide materials known as MXenes are “quite reactive” to water, a discovery S&T researchers say could have implications for energy storage and harvesting applications such as batteries, supercapacitors and beyond. Their findings were published in 2018 in the American Chemical Society journal Inorganic Chemistry.

[Read More...]

A faster charge for electric vehicles

One drawback of electric vehicles (EVs) is the time it takes to charge them. But what if you could plug in your EV and fully charge it as quickly as it takes to fill up a conventional car with gasoline? Missouri S&T researchers, in collaboration with three private companies, are working to make speedy charging […]

[Read More...]