Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Arduino Wii Nunchuck on Linux

I came across a DIY project over on the website for Maker magazine to connected a Wii Nunchuck to your computer as a mouse using an Arduino board and Python. Problem was, they only made it for Windows (they also suck at Python programming, but whatever). So after quite a bit of work over the past three days, I finally got it working.

The problem is Windows is not very secure and anything running on it can really do whatever it pleases, like say move the mouse around or click on things, without much effort. Linux has a bit more to it.

I went in originally planning on using libX11.so through ctypes.cdll, but setting up an event on that was not only pure hell, I don't even know if it is possible. Plan B presented itself as Xlib. The documents are not that complete, examples seem to be scarce and I don't have much in the way of patience.

You can check everything out here, I'm going to skim over the details and then show the Python code, all commented.

First thing first, get the library for interfacing the Nunchuck here. The readme there should tell you how to use it.

Next you want to jam some wires into your Nunchuck (the jumper wires from the starter kit fit fine without breaking anything) like so and connect it to your board to the corresponding holes.


From there you want to upload the example code for the Wii Nunchuck library so we can just process the data as a string rather than a bytestream.

Now we just need to run some Python code and you get all the mouse control I could jam into the thing (two buttons, joystick and accelerometer gave me just enough room for everything a standard modern day mouse has).

#!/usr/bin/env python
import serial, sys, Xlib, Xlib.display, Xlib.ext.xtest

# This will be later on, setting it now
global d, root

# The port to which your Arduino board is connected
# Change for your system and board
port = '/dev/serial/by-id/usb-Arduino__www.arduino.cc__0043_64131383331351306291-if00'

# The baudrate of the Arduino program
baudrate = 19200

# Variables indicating the center position (no movement) of the controller
# Increase the amount of play if to sensitive, decrease if not sensitive enough
# Increase speed to cut it down, decrease to raise it (1 is the highest)
midAccelX   = 515 # Accelerometer X
midAccelY   = 590 # Accelerometer Y
midAccelZ   = 710 # Accelerometer Z (not used)
midAnalogY  = 134 # Analog Y
midAnalogX  = 127 # Analog X
tollerance  = 5   # Amount of play
accelToll   = 80  # Amout of accelerometer play
speed       = 4   # difference / speed = movement

# Generic mouse movement
def move_mouse(x,y):
    x = int((x - midAnalogX) / speed)
    y = int((midAnalogY - y) / speed)

    # Make sure it's not just white noise
    if abs(x) < tollerance:
        x = 0
    # Move in the right direction the right amount
    else:
        if x < 0:
            x += tollerance
        else:
            x -= tollerance

    # Same deal, filtering white noise
    if abs(y) < tollerance:
        y = 0
    # Move in the right direction the right amount
    else:
        if y < 0:
            y += tollerance
        else:
            y -= tollerance

    # Save the Xorg processing if we're not moving
    if x != 0 or y != 0:
        d.warp_pointer(x, y, src_window = root)
        d.flush()

# Simulated button down
def mouse_down(button):
    Xlib.ext.xtest.fake_input(d, Xlib.X.ButtonPress, button)
    d.sync()

#simulated button up
def mouse_up(button):
    Xlib.ext.xtest.fake_input(d, Xlib.X.ButtonRelease, button)
    d.sync()

def main():
    # Connect to the serial port
    try:
        ser = serial.Serial(port, baudrate)
    except Exception as err:
        sys.stderr.write(str(err) + "\n")
        return 0

    # Mouse buttons
    leftDown = False
    rightDown = False
    middleDown = False

    # While the serial port is open
    while ser.isOpen():
        # Read and process the line
        line = ser.readline()
        line = line.strip('\r\n')
        line = line.split(' ')

        # Not sane yet, nothing to see here
        if len(line) != 7:
            continue

        # Alias the info so we can make sense of the rest
        try:
            analogX = int(line[0])
            analogY = int(line[1])
            accelX  = int(line[2])
            accelY  = int(line[3])
            accelZ  = int(line[4])
            zButton = int(line[5])
            cButton = int(line[6])

        # It hiccuped, ignore and move on
        except ValueError:
            continue

        # Left Mouse Button (Z)
        # Button down, don't need to press again if it's already down
        if zButton and not leftDown:
            leftDown = True
            mouse_down(Xlib.X.Button1)
        # Release the button
        elif leftDown and not zButton:
            leftDown = False
            mouse_up(Xlib.X.Button1)

        # Gestures to map more buttons since we only have two
        # It's the C button
        if cButton:
            # Tilt right, right click
            if (not rightDown) and accelX - midAccelX > accelToll:
                rightDown = True
                mouse_down(Xlib.X.Button3)
            elif rightDown and accelX - midAccelX <= accelToll:
                rightDown = False
                mouse_up(Xlib.X.Button3)

            # Tilt left, middle click
            if (not middleDown) and midAccelX - accelX > accelToll:
                middleDown = True
                mouse_down(Xlib.X.Button2)
            elif rightDown and accelX - midAccelX <= accelToll:
                middleDown = False
                mouse_up(Xlib.X.Button2)

            # Tilt forward, scroll up
            if accelY - midAccelY > accelToll:
                mouse_down(Xlib.X.Button4)
                mouse_up(Xlib.X.Button4)
            # Tilt back, scroll down
            elif midAccelY - accelY > accelToll:
                mouse_down(Xlib.X.Button5)
                mouse_up(Xlib.X.Button5)
        # Cleanup any buttons down when gesture stops
        else:
            if rightDown:
                rightDown = False
                mouse_up(Xlib.X.Button3)

            if middleDown:
                middleDown = False
                mouse_up(Xlib.X.Button2)

        # Move the mouse
        move_mouse(analogX, analogY)

    # After the program is over, close the serial port connection
    ser.close()

if __name__ == '__main__':
    # Create display and get the root
    d = Xlib.display.Display(None)
    root = d.screen().root
    try:
        main()

    except KeyboardInterrupt:
        print ""

    except Exception as err:
        sys.stderr.write(str(err) + "\n")

    # Regardless of what happens, close the display
    finally:
        d.close()

Remember to change your port for your board and system and adjust any values to adjust to your sensitivity and any excess give or lack there of that it may have.

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