Hemp and Technology. Possible alterations.

Wii-Mote e Nunchuk… covered by hemp. Or rather when someone thinks – and does – that hemp could also be technology.


Here is an unusual but realistic and possible application of hemp for technologic objects, which usually are too “plastic” or even so cold and aseptic.

The covering was made with stings composed by three different kinds of 100% natural hemp, without compromising any functioning of the internal parts.

This product is in sharp contrast with the original Wii-Mote, which once was elegant, cold and of white hard plastic. It has been transformed into an object that has its own style, warm and with an undoubted look of natural hemp. It’s not bland, trademarked, anonymous and boring anymore…but biting, rustic and also able (unlike rubber and plastic) to absorb sweat.
Renamed Hemp-Mode, the controller is fully usable to play, all the buttons work and respond to commands, same as the infrared. The only doubt is that the thickness and the raw state of the hemp used could lead to an accentuated short term wear.

The author of all this, known in the internet as Dhreck, explains how he made the alterations to the Wii-Mote with hemp.

First of all the original had to be shrunk in order to be able to allow the coating, and to prevent the controller from becoming too big. Therefore, with the use of a knife, a file and a lot of patience the majority of the hard plastic shell was removed; around it some molds with plaster was created, and afterwards it was polished with sandpaper and painted in black. There! The basis for the coating has been created. I took a hemp rope ball and I begun with the bigger parts, securing laboriously the fine string with glue so that it wouldn’t come off. The first one to be wrapped is the wire that connects the Wii-Mote to the Nunchuck, rolling continuously the hemp and refining well the buttons and the folds details, adapting the rope and shaping it to follow the forms and allowing the mechanical parts to move. Finally, with a not very orthodox trick, the extremities have been burned off and melted in the structure with extreme caution and with the help of various lighters. The front part of the battery cover is connected to the main body through the hemp string that coats and holds the cover so that it stays in place. Because the hemp string is, in the end, a little bit too sensitive to the hand’s sweat and oil, and to the stress of using it, maybe it will be necessary to consider the use of latex gloves, even if this could delay the response of the game commands. At present, this “project” could probably be destined to be used occasionally.”

It’s an artisan and pernickety job but, as in the description of its author and from the pictures on his website, definitely doable and achievable. An example of how it is possible to combine nature and technology: if a person in his small can modify a technological accessory already existing, it shouldn’t be impossible for a company to base a new project starting from simple materials. To do so they would only need the will and intention.

As a remedy for the last defect mentioned by Dhreck, in order to develop resistance to hemp wear off, theoretically the coating could be protected by a resin, also of natural origins. As you can see, we don’t get tired of repeating that the possibilities of expression of this resource extend themselves to uses 360° around and sometimes, such as in this case, even further to the fantasy and inspiration of who, simply, has time to have fun.

Maurizio Birocchi

Published on Dolce Vita International 3