Wiimote – WhiteBoard Project

I do not like playing computer games. In my opinion, playing computer games is wasting time. I have been using the computers since 1989 (second year in my computer engineering course) and since then I must have had spent totally less than 10-15 hours playing computer games. 90% of that time, I spent playing the snake game in MS-DOS.

My son, who is in the first grade, has been asking me for a quite a while, to buy him a Nintendo Wii and I bought him one just last week. I was amazed by the design. I found simplicity, elegance, adaptability, usability in the architecture of the system. I felt, it is like iPod in the gaming industry. (Well, this is the first gaming console I bought, may be, all other gaming console are like this. But I do not know). I was so impressed by their design and architecture. Curiously and quickly, I jumped into the tenure of understanding the internals of Nintendo Wii. Meantime, I played Wii sports (tennis and golf) with my son.

In my short tenure, I realized

  • Developing games in Nintendo Wii has a huge market
  • The Nintendo development SDK is not widely available
  • The internals of Nintendo is not available for public
  • The Wii remote (widely called Wiimote) is an infrared emitter communicates via blue tooth.
  • Kids are addicted to these games (spoke to 5-6 kids , my friend’s son/daughters, my son’s friends)
  • It is very expensive and not readily available in the market
  • Does not have open standard browser
  • Nintendo Wii has an wireless connection (a minimum security is a must) and connects to internet

Nintendo wii remote has more attention in general than the Nintendo console. Johnny Chung Lee‘s enthusiasm and his videos effortlessly motivated me to try/experiment his findings. The Wiimote white board project is most interesting to me since it will have both professional and personal benefits. I started working on this projects a couple of days ago. (weekend project). Here are my findings.

  • None of my five home computers had an internal bluetooth. Bought Voice star (Cat. No. 17-1000[A], FCC ID. S76Bt-36)bluetooth 2.0 adapter from Radioshack. It is $10 USD.
  • Bought battery holder, 1.5 v battery, Infrared LED, switch
  • Tried to establish the connection between Wiimote and laptop (HP dv9913cl Notebook PC, 64 bit Windows Vista, bluesoleil 6.2.227.11 driver )
    • I tried all combination. It did not work. I spent almost 15 hours in the attempt to make it functional. Tried all possible combinations I could think of. Nothing worked.
    • When the Wii console is switched on, the Wiimote already establishes the connection with the Wii console. It does not connect to the bluetooth adapter/dongle.
    • I got stuck at, Wiimote not found in the Human interface devices HID list. Further debugging reveled that the bluesoleil driver was not loaded in to the kernel. I was able to make pair the Wiimote and PC in the bluesoleil console. When I tried to open the device, I got the the above error message. I read in few forums, including Johnny Chung Lee comments, that there are few challenges in the 64 bit windows operating system.
  • Tried to estabilsh the connection between Wiimote and laptop (Dell Inspiron, E1505, 32 bit Windows XP, Windows bluetooth driver)
    • Was not able to open the driver. The wiimote was not found in the HID list.
    • Installed bluesoleil (the driver came with the voice star adapter)
    • Installed .NET framework 3.0 and uninstalled .NET framework 3.0 (noticed more errors and felt it was not going to help even though some forums documented that .NET 3 framework will resolve the issues I faced)
    • The Wiimote was able to open by the driver (the application using the driver)
    • Played around with Wiimote Smoothboard , Wii Play drums, Wii Test application, glovePIE applications. All of them worked great.

In the process of building the pen. Looking for an elegant pen design from Parker web sites. I also came to know that the infraredpens.com run out of stock and looking for a new design and inventory.

Made few crude testing to ensure the infrared LED works. Not successful. Could be problem with the battery or in the connection. Need to have a good design before the development. Does this statement sound familiar?

After the findings, I change my position on the Wii game potentials in the market. Once this kind of discoveries and re-engineering continues, there is no need to buy the console. The console function can be simulated in the PC/Laptop. It will become integral of the PC. Get the Wiimote (around $40 USD) and get the games which can be configured in the PC/laptop and get the same feature we are getting in the Wii console.

That is long way to go.. until then, buy Nintendo stock!!

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6 Responses

  1. Hi, just found your post on a web search, and i was wandering if you could help me out. I need the software that came with the bluetooth dongle, could you help me out by sharing the software that came with the dongle, i lost my cd and the online download, hasnt been very helpful. Thanks for your time and help.

  2. My brother would be amazed this post. We were recently talking about this. hehe

  3. Hello, to start with I want to tell you that I love your blog. Great post, I totally agree with you. Have a good day mate.

  4. I want share with you a veru powerfull software to be used with the wiimote whiteboard

    http://code.google.com/p/ardesia/

    Ardesia enables you to make colored free-hand annotations on your computer screen, record it and share on the network.

    This is especially useful when making presentations, to highlight things or point out things of interest.

    The tool facilitates the online presentations and demos showing in real time your computer screen to anyone in the network.

    Ardesia is XInput-Aware, so if you have a mouse, a graphic tablet, a touch screen, a wiimote whiteboard or a commercial whiteboard; you can draw lines with different strength, select color, erase things and draw arrows.

    You can free-hand draw geometrical shapes using the shape recognizer, insert text with the keyboard and highlight screen areas. You can draw upon the desktop or select an image as background.

  5. Ardesia 0.4 is out!
    http://code.google.com/p/ardesia/

    Ardesia allows to draw and sketchup everywhere

    The binary package is released for Ubuntu Lucid and Windows 7
    you can use Ardesia with all the linux flavours, the source code
    is free and released under the GPL terms

    You can use it with a wiimote whiteboard or a graphic tablet;
    in this way the lines are writing lighter or darker depending on
    the pen pressure

    You can export your work in the pdf format to create simple presentation, tutorial or document

    Ardesia allow to record and the stream on icecast streaming server
    thanks to the vlc media player and streamer

    …Ardesia is free and simple as you are; Try it now!

  6. WiildOs 1.3.2 is out,
    WiildOs is an educational live and installable GNU/Linux distro build
    from the Ardesia stuff and thinking for teaching purposes. It includes
    the software that enable you to use a wiimote whiteboard.

    WiildOs includes lubuntu-desktop, python-whiteboard, ardesia, sankore,
    spotlighter, curtain, florence-ramble, wmgui, wiican, easystroke,
    whyteboard, vmg, shutter, gimp, tuxpaint, tuxmath, tuxtype, dia,
    scribus, audacity, stellarium, xournal, gcompris, geogebra, wxmaxima,
    openoffice.org, jokosher, musescore, solfege, stellarium, dasher,
    eviacam and more!

    More info on http://code.google.com/p/ardesia/wiki/WiildOs

    Build a wiildOs4win wubi like installer that allow to install wiildOs
    inside windows without partitioning the hard disk.
    http://ardesia.googlecode.com/svn/wiki/wiildOs/wiildOs4win.exe

    Changelog
    – new kernel 2.6.35; this add the support to some new devices including
    the toshiba bluettoth
    – thunderbird in now the default mailer instead of sylpheed
    – firefox is the default browser instead of chromium
    – removed xscreensaver for performance issue
    – remove all the gnome office suite; we use openoffice suite
    – fix the wiican program; now you can you use the wiimote as controller
    usinf the infrared camera or the accelerometers in a visual user
    friendly way

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