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Benedetto Vigna: The Man Behind the Chip Behind the Wii

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.

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