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 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!!