Friday, March 16, 2012

Homemade whiteboards and more, App #20--Johhny Lee's Wii Remote hacks

Wii Remote for interactive whiteboard: . Software is available here:

(This is a $50 solution to interactive whiteboards. All you need is are infrared light pens and a Wii Remote and Johnny Lee's free software.)

Synopsis: I discovered this about a year and a half ago and failed to act on this information. Such a shame. I can barely contain my excitement about how ingenious this is. All you need are the following:
  • a Wii remote
  • infrared light pens (it can read up to four at once)
  • a flat surface
  • a projector
  • Johnny Lee's free software
 Once you have those five items, you can begin the set up. To set up, simply install Johnny Lee's software. then, build your pen with an LED that runs at around 100mA (mini keychain lights work for this too). And, Johnny Lee is currently looking into selling his infrared pens. His software site ( contains the instructions for setting up the pen.

Next, you need to set up the Wii remote. Johnny Lee has built a stand that anyone can build and shines it from a nearby table onto the screen where the projector projects. If you will be standing in front of your screen, you want to do this. However, if you are aiming your projector onto a surface below, you can attach the remote to the side of the projector.

Finally, you will see the touch point configuration markers (that you see on any interactive whiteboard). Touch each of the dots.

Now, you are set up! You can project onto any surface. And, you can use up to four infrared pens at once.

Though its tracking is not good as a Promethean or SmartBoard, it is pretty good. And, it's nearly free. It does not come with all of the software of the Promethean and SmartBoards; however, Johnny Lee has some nice software on his Website that is available for download. And, you can always use ActivInspire for personal use and it is free! 

Integration: I believe this simple technique has the power to transform schools. For instance, at my district 95% of the classrooms have projectors; however, less than half have interactive whiteboards. With this resolution, all of the rooms could have interactive whiteboards for the cost of one brand name board. And, since it works with four pens at a time, four students could be interacting on the surface. It can also interact with your iPad/tablet so that can become interactive as well. Maps and other flat surface materials are now interactive with this tiny resolution. Yes, I will be implementing these at my district. Take some time to check out Johnny Lee's revolution!

Also, speaking of changing the face of education, look at Singapore schools (perhaps a model the U.S. should follow?):


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