University of Missouri professor Ming Leu is testing the use of the Nintendo Wii's remotes – Wiimotes – to streamline the aerospace manufacturing process. Leu is using the Wiimote to record an assembly process to improve employee training, shorten cycle time, reduce injuries and improve global communication between plants. The benefits of the Wii are its cheap price, wireless communication and the fact that its signal covers a long range. Leu also hopes to use the Wiimote’s camera to capture the movements of factory workers. "The Wiimotes allow us to easily capture motion in the assembly process wirelessly," says Leu. "We can track that motion, analyze the processes and make improvements based on the data generated through the motion-capture."

Leu’s research is based on similar studies undertaken by Boeing at Carnegie Mellon University.

In other video-games-being-used-in-innovative-ways news, the U.S. Air Force is building a supercomputer from over 2,000 PlayStation 3’s (and some off-the-shelf GPUs), Stars and Stripes reports . The computer, being built at the Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome, NY, will be used to mimic the human nervous system, among other things.

The Air Force received a $2 million dollar grant for the project, dubbed the 500 TeraFLOPS Heterogeneous Cluster. When the machine is completed, it will be nearly 100,000 times faster than today’s high-end computer processors.

We're learning that game technology is fittingly flexible and cutting-edge to be used in a variety of new situations, but that one of the biggest advantages is the technology’s cost effectiveness vis-à-vis technologies purpose-built for scientific endeavors.

(Via Physorg, Stars and Stripes)

By Mark Alvarez