Project Wiimote Operational!

So I snuck into my wife’s first grade classroom before work today and tinkered for a bit with my Johnny Lee Wiimote setup.

And now it works!

I promise I’ll post my experience in a bit more detail here, and over at the Wiimote Project. There’s even some talk amongst some of my friends of volunteering some time with a few underfunded schools in the area.

But first things first: I need to get it working and integrated for my wife so she can use it in my absence.

Wiimote Project Stalled!

I haven’t had much of a chance to work on this because of the Thanksgiving break, but I wanted to give an update on my most recent project: installing a makeshift smartboard in my wife’s classroom using Johnny Lee’s Wiimote Hack.

I’ve downloaded the software, synced her computer using the Bluesoleil stack via Bluetooth to the Wiimote and ordered and received an IR pen from Penteractive.

When I launch the program and attempt to calibrate the pen with the software, nothing happens. I suspect one of two problems:

1) Since I’m using the trail version of Bluesoleil, the amount of data I can send via Bluetooth is limited. Perhaps I need to upgrade.

2) The pen I received from Penteractive is broken (I sincerely hope not)!

We’ll see. I need to post my problems to the Wiimote forum and spend some more time troubleshooting them myself. I’ve just been swamped!

Day 3 – Still No Infrared LED Pen for the Wiimote Hack

Forgive me in advance if my thoughts are a bit incoherent this morning…I’m on my second cup of coffee and still not feeling fully awake…

So I ordered my infrared pen from Penteractive for the wiimote whiteboard hack from Johnny Lee, but I’m still awaiting the pen in the mail. The site was slick, payment via Paypal seamless, and I’m still within the promised 2-5 business days – but man, am I getting antsy!

More to come…

Johnny Lee’s Wiimote Hack/Whiteboard is Awesome (So Far)

When I first saw this video by Johnny Lee, I thought it was awesome, futuristic-looking, but completely irrelevant to anything I might care about.

Two weeks later I saw it on, where Lee describes the outburst in experimentation on the part of teachers and students alike in classrooms across America to expand on his innovation. After that, I basically assumed a personal responsibility to get my wife (who is a teacher) her very own multi-touch whiteboard in her first grade classroom. First watch:

Here are my steps for making this a reality for her, but realize that (1) I’m only about 3/4 of the way through the process and (2) this is in layman’s terms. I don’t program. I know little about hardware, and so if I’m come off as less than schooled on these matters it’s because, well, I am. (Much better support provided in the forums at

Step 1: Bluetooth

Make sure you have Bluetooth on your computer/laptop. Seems silly, but if you don’t, then you’ll need to go out and get an external device that enables Bluetooth file sharing.

Step 2: Wiimote

Get a Wiimote. Again, sounds silly but hey, I gave up gaming with the eclipse of the Sega Genesis by faster, better game consoles. I don’t own a Wii, but I got one at BestBuy for $40.00. I’m sure you can get them online for much cheaper, but I was impatient.

Step 3 Sync ’em Up:

Sync your Wiimote with your computer. This is way more difficult than it sounds. Read the forum above, where I plan to detail the process I went through to do it, but suffice it to say that the Wiimote is not designed to sync with a PC. All other problems stem from there.

Step 4: Get the Pen

Fashion, or purchase, an IR LED pen. There is a great schematic on Johnny Lee‘s Web site, but this company, Penteractive sprung up in the wake of all of this and sells them for $8. Again, I’m not good with hardware so I opted for the easy way out.

Step 5: TBC…I’ve yet to get my pen in the mail, or download Lee’s free software, but I’ll leave an update and probably a video response to Lee’s once I do.

Why this is awesome

Lee didn’t invent. He innovated. What’s more, he made it in an open source way, promoted it on YouTube, and stands to provide every classroom in American with the tools to create a reasonably inexpensive interactive whiteboard.

To paraphrase the man himself, his solution is only about 80 percent as good as a commercial one. But it comes at about 1 percent of the cost.

So cool…