The Wii Balance Board is a unique accessory for the Wii console. It was originally developed in conjunction with the Wii Fit game but since release the device has been supported by a number of other new titles. It is able to accurately measure weight and determine your center of balance. Whether you are using the balance board as an aid to fitness or just a fun peripheral for some gaming it is a clever device. There are more and more titles being released that support the device and it looks set to be a popular and well supported accessory in the long term.
The balance board looks a bit like household scales. It is moulded from white and grey plastic. It is a wireless device and it runs on 4 AA batteries. Standard batteries will provide up to 60 hours of use before they need changing. There are multiple pressure sensors within the board so it is capable of determining your center of balance and can detect what direction you are leaning in and how hard. It can also measure your weight more accurately than your typical bathroom scales. If you input your height then along with Wii Fit it will calculate your body mass index.
Balance Board Safety
The board is capable of measuring weights of up to 330 pounds. The sensors may not work accurately beyond that but it is capable of supporting up to 660 pounds of weight without breaking. The board should be used on a flat hard surface or a thin carpet. If you have a thick carpet you can get extension feet. The user should have bare feet or footwear with grip because socks may cause you to slip off.
Wii Fit allows the board to be used for a variety of activities and the obvious application is sports based games. The other titles released which support the board have taken full advantage of the shape and functionality with a strong focus on skateboarding and snowboarding. There are also party games that use it and additional titles have covered sports like skiing, boxing and even horse racing.
I first tried out the board as part of Rayman Raving Rabbids and wrote it off as gimmicky and rubbish but that was more to do with the actual game than the device. Along with Wii Fit it is a genuine aid to fitness and can be used for a variety of exercises. The forthcoming EA Sports Active is also going to use the board and it works extremely well for skateboarding in your living room with titles like Skate It.
The Wii Balance Board is a very clever peripheral and is part of Nintendo’s drive to pull in mainstream interest in their console and propose applications that go beyond traditional gaming. The best way to purchase the board is to buy it bundled with Wii Fit. The potential uses for the balance board have not yet been exhausted. There is news that it has been used to help rehabilitate hospital patients. There is also a video on YouTube featuring some Germans who have hacked the board and are using it to surf through Google Earth. Personally I’m waiting for a decent surfing game to hit the stores.