Nintendo's Wii is the hottest computer game and arguably the only one that's good for you. Its two wireless remote controls track any movement, encouraging players to engage opponents with a heart-pounding physicality that is already melting fat off overfed children. Yet although detecting motion is critical to the success of the US $250 game, the job depends on $3 sensors the size of shirt buttons.
The supplier of the sensors, STMicroelectronics, got into the business a decade ago in order to squeeze a few more dollars out of an obsolescent chip-making plant. "We wanted something good for it that didn't require deep submicron technology," says Benedetto Vigna, the Italian physicist who developed the sensor.