The Gamer's Guide to Affordable Motion Sensors and Cameras

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The Gamer's Guide to Affordable Motion Sensors and Cameras

Those looking for a way to get off the sofa and get active without giving up their beloved games should consider investing in motion sensors and cameras. Motion sensor and camera controlled gaming systems are those that allow players to interact with the game through full body movements. Input is often a combination of spoken commands, actions, and gestures. When acting together, the sensors and camera are able to measure the velocity, position, and rotational angle of the controller or players. These components often operate on an internal, rechargeable lithium ion battery.

There are various types of motion sensors and cameras. These components vary in shape, size, and design. However, they all perform the same function. Motion sensors and cameras also tend to vary in price. If looking for affordable components, buyers should consider purchasing used models. This cost effective method allows buyers to save money while offering all of the same benefits. When purchasing affordable motion sensors and cameras at retailers such as eBay,, buyers should familiarise themselves with the history of motion sensors in the gaming industry, consider the various types, and understand the features that they offer.

A Brief History of Motion Sensors for Gaming

The Sega Activator, released in 1993 for the Sega Genesis gaming system, was the first motion controller to enter the industry. The control was based on the Light Harp, which was invented by Assaf Gurner. The Sega Activator had the capability to read a player's physical movements and allowed for full body motion sensing. However, due to its inaccuracy, the control proved a failure. Years later, the Wii Remote was released for Nintendo's Wii system and had motion sensors that made the use popular in gaming. Since then, many companies, including Sony and Microsoft, have released similar motion sensor controls that are compatible with their games. As players continue to demand improved accuracy and realism in their games, manufacturers are forced to release new devices with better motion sensor technology.

Types of Motion Sensors and Cameras for Gaming

There are various video game manufacturers that have created motion sensor technology for their gaming systems. These systems include Microsoft Kinect, Nintendo Wii, and Sony PlayStation 3. When searching for motion sensor controllers and cameras, buyers should consider the type of gaming system they have because each sensor is directly compatible to a system.

Microsoft Kinect

Microsoft Kinect combines a depth sensor, camera, and multi-array microphone to track a player's full body movements, voice, and facial expressions, which it then translates into inputs for the game. This means that player's do not need to perform localised arm waving while holding the remote control. In addition, Microsoft Kinect allows players to issue voice commands through use of a speech recognition software.

Unlike other motion sensor and camera gaming systems, the Kinect does not use a controller. Instead, it uses both face and voice recognition to identify players. The depth camera operates in 3D mode, generating skeleton images of the players in its field of view and recognising human beings amongst objects, while the motion sensor tracks their movements. The camera is powered by hardware and software. This is unique from older gaming systems that use differences in colour and texture to distinguish objects from their backgrounds.

Nintendo Wii

Nintendo Wii uses a sensor bar and wireless remote with infrared beams and Bluetooth technology to track a player's movement and facial expressions. This built-in motion sensor comes equipped with a handle, which the player is able to wear around his or her wrist so as not to lose the remote control while gaming. For greater accuracy, Nintendo released a MotionPlus accessory, which plugs into the bottom of the Wii remote control.

The handheld hardware controller closely resembles that of a television remote control. The camera, which is located within the Nintendo Wii console, is able to track the position of the controller.


The Sixaxis was the first wireless controller for the Sony PlayStation 3. This controller has the ability to sense both rotational orientation and translational acceleration along all three-dimensional axes. Unlike its other remote control options, the Sixaxis did not have vibration capabilities, as this was originally thought to interfere with motion sensing.

DualShock 3

DualShock 3 replaced Sony PlayStation 3s Sixaxis controller. This motion sensor controller offers many of the same capabilities as the Sixaxis. However, in addition, it also allows for vibration capabilities.

PlayStation Move

The PlayStation Move motion sensor is used for Sony's PlayStation 3 gaming system. The PlayStation Move controller has a glowing rubber ball at the top, which closely resembles a wand or microphone. The sensor is used to track 3D space in conjunction with a camera plugged into the console, called "the eye". As the controller moves, LEDs change colour in its sphere, allowing motion to be detected. The LEDs change colour based on the number of players, number of devices used by a single player, or a player's dimly lit or similarly coloured background.

The PlayStation Move also features a microphone for voice chat capabilities as well as using facial recognition and head position tracking. This gaming system allows up to four controllers to be used simultaneously. All four controllers can be motion sensored, or players can choose to use two motion and two navigation controllers. For improved accuracy during gameplay, players are required to calibrate their motion sensor controller at the start of each session. This allows the gaming system to provide the player with information, such as measurements, spin indicators, and wind speeds.

PlayStation Move Accessories

Buyers are able to buy several motion sensor accessories for use with the PlayStation Move. These accessories, including handgun controllers, sharp shooter attachments, and racing wheels , attach to the gaming system's main motion sensor controller, thus allowing players to compete in a wider variety of games.

Features of Motion Sensors and Cameras

When searching for motion sensors and cameras, buyers should consider the various features they offer. These features, including accelerometers and sensor bars, are meant to improve motion sensing accuracy while participating in gameplay.


Many motion sensor controllers are equipped with an accelerometer, which detects details of movement. These details include rotation, tilt, direction, and degree of acceleration. This information is then wirelessly communicated to the console for input.

Sensor Bars

Sensor bars are often used in conjunction with an accelerometer to help to track a player's movement accurately. The sensor bar is designed to be placed near the display monitor, often directly above or below. The bar emits a beam of infrared light from both of its ends, similar to that of a remote control. The light is then monitored by the sensor located on the player's control. Using the two beams of infrared light, the motion sensor can detect where the controller is pointing and translate it for input on the television screen.

How to Buy Affordable Motion Sensors and Cameras on eBay

There are many different affordable motion sensors and cameras available for purchase on eBay. Buyers can search for these components on the eBay home page.. For the most affordable options, buyers should then narrow down the results to used motion sensors and cameras using the eBay filters. Alternatively, buyers can sort the results page from the lowest to highest price. Buyers are then able to choose the gaming system controller they require. Using these filters can save the buyer from searching through the thousands of motion sensors and cameras that eBay has to offer that are not compatible with their gaming system.

Buyers should look carefully at the condition of the motion sensors and cameras before purchasing, and if they have any questions, they can contact the seller. Over time, sensors tend to lose their ability to provide accurate input to the display monitor. So, if planning to purchase used devices as a more affordable option, it may be best to search for sellers that are located close by so that you can test the controller before buying the components. It is possible to replace the motion sensing chip within the controller relatively inexpensively.


Investing in affordable motion sensors and cameras is a great way to get active while still enjoying the art of video games. These sensors and cameras allow players to interact with the game, giving them the full gaming experience. When searching for motion sensors and cameras, buyers should first consider the type of gaming system they have. Some systems have motion sensors and cameras that are directly compatible with their device, while others allow for compatibility across multiple devices. Buyers should also consider the features that the motion sensors and cameras offer. Features, such as the accelerometer and sensor bar, are designed for greater accuracy while gameplay is in session.

In order to cut costs, buyers should search for affordable components. For greater money saving options, buyers should purchase used products. Many used motion sensors and cameras can be found in a like new condition. eBay offers a wide variety of affordable motion sensors and cameras, often below the retail price.

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