PALLA: a Spherical Wireless Input Device for Leisure Activities

PALLA used to control a virtual cube

PALLA is a spherical wireless input device that we developed for experimenting with motion sensing and physical interaction in leisure activities.

Based upon the Arduino Open Hardware prototyping platform and the FreeIMU sensor board, the device can detect a wide range of user inputs.

It is capable of sensing its own complete orientation with respect to the external world, it can measure its altitude with a precision of about 10 centimeters, when rolled on a planar surface like a table or the floor, its rolling path can be tracked precisely, it can detect taps and double taps as well as their magnitudes, moreover it can also detect hand proximity and provide simple visual and vibration feedback.

In order to assess the acceptability of PALLA, we developed a simple video game, called PandaGolf. The video game uses the device as part of a tangible user interface to engage players at the physical level by exploiting their perceptual-motor skills.

The game has been tested with various senior players. The results have been positive and encourage us to continue our research with the device.


Using Arduino for Tangible Human Computer Interaction by Fabio Varesano, supervised by Prof. Luca Console, co-supervised by Prof. Marco Grangetto. Master of Science Thesis. Dipartimento di Informatica, Università degli Studi di Torino.
PDF (24MB) PDF (Low Resolution - 1.7MB) LaTex sources BibTex

PALLA: A Spherical Tangible Remote Controller for Three-Dimensional Interaction by Varesano, F. Internal Technical Report. Dipartimento di Informatica, Università degli Studi di Torino.
PDF BibTex

Introducing palla, a novel input device for leisure activities: a case study on a tangible video game for seniors. by Varesano, F., and Vernero, F. In Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Fun and Games, Fun and Games '12 ACM (New York, NY, USA, 2012).
ACM Digital Library PDF BibTex


Palla shield schematics
Palla shield KiCad CAD designs
Palla shield Gerbers


Some of the code used with PALLA is available here. Please join the discussion on that forum thread for more informations.

MS5611-01BA and Palla

Submitted by Rick Eis (not verified) on Sun, 2012-10-28 05:59.

Hi Fab,

Just wondering if you used the MS5611-01BA for your Palla project?
And if you did, did you get it working a better?



Yes, I'm using it. Yes, it's

Submitted by fabio on Tue, 2012-10-30 12:37.

Yes, I'm using it. Yes, it's working much better now. See the FreeIMU library repository for new fixed code.