Wiimote Whiteboard Project

Smart-boards, or White-boards are a technology which allows a user to provide touch control over computer applications that has been around since the early 1990's, but is still cost prohibitive for many. While keeping up with the latest trends, the Instructional Technology department here at Darton College came across this ingenious project that has approximately 95% of the functionality of a professional solution for less than 5% of the cost.

With budgets tight and demand for new technology still high it makes sense to re-evaluate white board technology such as the one developed by computer programmer Johnny Lee
The Wiimote is essentially an infrared camera that is capable of interacting with most operating systems through the Bluetooth protocol (wireless networking over short distances.)  By mounting the Wiimote so that it can see a projector screen and using an infrared pointing device such as a mouse or light pen on the projector screen you can use the device to track it's position using the software developed by Johnny Lee. This software is open source and free of charge. There are broad ranges of products that allow you to outfit most rooms with a Wiimote Whiteboard.


Step 1 -           Shopping list:
                        $32                  Intec Wave Remote (an existing Wii Remote will also work)
                        $10 to $30       Wiimote table stands and ceiling brackets
                        $10                  Wiimote Versiclamp
                        $12                  Cables Unlimited Wiimote battery & charger
                        $10                  Mini Bluetooth Adapter (Mac & PC)
                        $8                    USB AC Adapter
                        $8 to $40         Infrared pointer
All parts can be purchased at http://penteractive.us

wii components

Step 2 - Setting up the Wiimote
A moderate level of technical competence may be required for installing the system. The Wiimote battery and charger fit pretty well and doesn’t require a lot of forcing to get things to come together correctly.

 mounting install

Step 3 - Mount the hardware
The products on the Penteractive website are designed to fit together and constructing the mount itself won’t be an issue. Finding the proper place to mount may actually be a bit more difficult. It’s best to get the Wiimote mounted where the person using the setup will not obstruct the line of sight of the Wiimote to the infrared LED on the pointer. Other things to consider are the room's security, if the Wiimote is too accessible it may be stolen. Taller rooms shouldn’t be a problem but will require more effort to mount. A USB extension cable or a power extension may be needed to get power to the mounting location.


Step 4 - Pairing the Wiimote
When mounting your Wiimote, it’s a good idea to tape down the 1 and 2 buttons, to put it in a persistent state of discovery mode, so you don’t need to hold the buttons down when you need to re-pair with it. Pairing in Windows requires binding the Wiimote using a Bluetooth interface. The code is 0000 by default. The Mac software allows you to bind with the device without the need for using the Bluetooth system preferences. 

Johnny Lee's software can be found here:
PC: http://johnnylee.net/projects/wii/WiimoteWhiteboardv03.zip
Mac: http://www.uweschmidt.org/files/WiimoteWhiteboard.dmg


Once your Wiimote is paired up to your computer, the software allows you to calibrate to the screen by putting four crosses on the screen, one in each corner. Click on each corners cross by using pointer, and press the button on the device to turn on the infrared LED. This shows the Wiimote where the four corners of the screen are. Future versions of the software may also do other functions, but pointing out the four corners is all that’s needed to get the White board setup functioning.

example 1

example 2

Step 5 - Use the setup!
Most functions that require the right click can be used with this setup. Programs often require use of the on-screen keyboard found in the accessibility options in Windows and the international System Preferences (input menu tab) on the Mac.

Some great programs to try with your Wiimote white-board are:
Phun (physics simulator)
Photosynth (virtual tourism)
Alias Sketchbook Pro
Google Earth
Microsoft Virtual Earth
CoolIris (media browsing)
One Note (note taking)
& for Web browsing
You can also use the added tablet functionality in Windows 7, and support for multi-touch gestures in Windows 7 and Snow Leopard on a Mac.