The Wii™ rocks, as far as we're concerned. But it has just one tiny problem. If you're standing 4' in front of your Wii, the stock sensor bar works just fine. And if you're playing sports games, that's OK, but not so OK for a marathon CoD sessions on the couch on the other side of the room.
Since the Wii came out, large-screen TVs have become the norm. TVs so big that you really want to be 8-10' away from them to properly enjoy them. Far too distant for the sensor bar, alas. There are commercial solutions that let you put a battery-powered sensor bar on a table in front of you, but in our experience, they are finicky and eat batteries.
Luckily, a Wii sensor bar is just 2 infrared sources set a given distance apart, and as numerous people have demonstrated, just about any IR emitter (including a pair of candles) will work. So what we really need is a pair of big honking IR sources that you can put under your 47" LCD set, powerful enough to be seen clearly from across the room.
There's no rocket science involved here. You can find DIY instructions on the web (although the first one we tried called for LED drivers that were totally inadequate for the job, so caveat emptor!) The problem is, compared to the cost of the actual components, the shipping charges will eat you alive. This is especially true for the custom PC boards (PCBs) we designed, $10 for a pair of boards, $15 in shipping! So while you could make your own, it would cost double or maybe triple what the cost should be.
What we're proposing to do is this: order in volume and amortize the shipping costs over a large number of units. If we can get enough people to go in together on this, we can get a nice looking, mega-powerful alternative to the sensor bar that won't break the bank. Also, with volume ordering we can get the price of some components down as well. In quantity one, a 6V power adaptor is around $9-12, but if you can order 500, you can get them for $3.
To be clear, we're not looking to get rich off this. We think that the MegaBar is awesome, and would like to let other people enjoy the same awesomeness. Depending on the size of the eventual order, the units will either be assembled by ace solderer Daniel Turner, or shopped out if we get an overwhelming number of orders. Paying for the assembly and outbound shipping, and factoring in the fees charged by Kickstarter and Amazon, will be the only markups over our costs.
If you want to incorporate the design into something bigger, you can get the basic Gerber or Eagle files and roll your own PCBs. We will also offer the bare PCBs, or the PCBs with unpopulated components. For a bit more, you can have fully populated and tested boards. But the best buy is going to be two fully assembled units with a power adaptor, ready to stick under your TV set.
Your couch is calling! Isn't it time to Free Your Wii?
And to keep the lawyers happy, Wii is a registered trademark of Nintendo Co., Ltd. and is used without permission. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.