Posted on 04-02-2008
Filed Under (Technology) by gashed

The wiimote whiteboard is an idea from Johnny Chung Lee in Carnegie Mellon University.  He has created a number of ingenious projects using the wiimote controller from the Nintendo Wii games console, the most educationally relevant one is probably the wiimote whiteboard.

The wiimote contains an infrared camera, so can detect and recognise the position of an infrared LED in its field of view.  Johnny Lee has written software and devised a method that an infrared LED can be used as a mouse pointer.  This has the potential to turn any surface with a projected screen image into an interactive whiteboard.

This is Johnny’s orginal demonstration on Youtube.  There is now a project homepage on www.wiimoteproject.com

Some tips:  I could not get the program to work under Vista.  To work accurately the wiimote camera has to see the reflected infrared light off the surface.  For a large white board the wiimote has to be a distance back and therefore the LED should be as intense as you can find; power dissipation >100mW.  Some people have used multiple LEDs, this is probably unnessary but max out the LED as you have to make it as bright as possible.  Positioning the wiimote is interesting.  Straight in front gives greatest resolution, but it has the be further away from the board to cover it all than if it is placed to the side.  I have found that on top of the data projector is about the right distance away – it may needed to be tilted upwards.  This has the added advantage that you can power the wiimote off one of the ports on the back of the projector.  The resolution of the system is lower than that of a commerical traditional type interactive board, but wiimotes are spectacularly cheaper.  Good luck.

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