11 January 2010

Interactive Whiteboards Using Nintendo Wii Controller

I first heard about this awhile ago, but have always been a little intimidated by messing with this kind of stuff and then making my own light pens on top of it seemed like too much of a hassle.

In an effort to keep learning new things I decided to give it a try yesterday.  It actually works.  I was able to get everything functioning properly and have some ideas about how I can make it even better for my next attempt.

If anyone wants to try it here are some lessons that I learned that you can now avoid.

Bluetooth Settings (You'll need them for your computer to recognize the Wii remote):
  • If you aren't fortunate enough to have them enabled already on your computer don't spend hours trying to figure it out.  I was able to purchase a RocketFish Bluetooth USB port that is very small and can be left plugged in with little hassle for $30.
  • Adding a new Bluetooth device like this means that you'll have to enable it every time (not too big of a hassle as it only takes a couple of seconds).
  • When you recognize your remote it will prompt you for a password (again, if you are lucky, you'll have the option to continue by clicking on continue without a password).  If you are not given the option to bypass the password, hit Alt+s.  Make sure you do all of this after you've hit the A & B buttons on your remote so it sends a signal.
Calibrate your Wii Controller:
  • There are programs available that will allow you to do this.  The hardest part is trying to position your Wiimote just right so that it can see everything.
Making your Light Pens:
  • Radio Shack is helpful as you can just give them a shopping list and they will find everything for you with few problems.
  • Finding an N-battery case wasn't so easy after visiting two Shacks so I went with AAA.
  • If you want a fancy pen to put them inside of your batteries will probably not fit as easily without the N battery.   I found a Liquid Paper Precision Pen at Office Max that I was able to pull apart and hollow out to fit most of the parts in.


  • To test to see if your IR light is working use a camera phone.  By looking through the camera you'll be able to see if your light is turning on.
  • + and - matters so get it right.
  • Find a method to diffuse the IR light (Scuff the LED bulb; point the pen backward or toward your Wiimote; position aluminum foil or a ball bearing in front of the bulb to reflect the light; etc).
Thanks Johnny Lee
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