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Wiimote Project » General Category » General Discussion » Mr. Joe's classroom interactive whiteboard - Getting started
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Author Topic: Mr. Joe's classroom interactive whiteboard - Getting started  (Read 1395 times)
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« on: November 20, 2010, 10:24:08 PM »

Hey, everyone! This is my first post here, so I thought I'd introduce myself and explain a little bit about what I'm doing and would like to do with my Wiimote project.

My name is, well, Mr. Joe, and I am a soon-to-be high school English teacher, just finishing up my degree/certifications (this coming April) at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.
I'm a former tech junkie, which is part of why I'm so drawn-in to projects like these, however, I'm pretty far-removed from most stuff being used today. I only recently (about 2 months ago) used a SmartBoard for the first time. I don't own a Wii (though I do have a Wiimote, of course, for this project). I don't game (anymore). Both of my computers are laptops (one is an old Gateway tablet PC that I repaired last week, the other is a year-old Macbook Pro). I keep up with some things online, but I have scarcely touched Windows Vista/7, most gaming-type peripherals, and am essentially clueless about setting up networks beyond simple stuff at home and small workplaces.
I used to be A+, Net+, and iNet+ trained and certified, but that was nearly ten years ago, so by this time, most of my knowledge is out-of-date/useless, though remembering some of it does help me to figure some newer things out pretty quickly.

My Wiimote project is for use in a high school classroom. In about a month/month and a half, I will be doing my last semester of student teaching, and will be able to bring whatever hardware I'd like (within reason) into that classroom, and hope to keep these things with me for when I actually do get a job. I've seen some pretty advanced stuff out there, and while it'd all be cool to do (and ideally, I'd like to be able to implement some of it for my own amusement in the future), I don't think I'm looking to do anything as advanced as, say, the KTY box (though...well, read on).

I admit, I'm posting about this a little pre-emptively, though I figured asking questions sooner than later could prevent both screwing up and wasting time/money, and could point me in the right directions for some things I'd like to do. So, please, bear with the fact that I haven't done all of my research. As soon as I post this, I will continue doing so. I began reading up on some of this about three days ago for the first time (though it had been explained to me some months before, so I had a general idea about it), so, yes (again), I am new to all of this.

What I'm looking to do:
I do not have a desktop computer, though I'll be investing in one sometime in the future. So, my "test computer" is the older Gateway Tablet PC.
I also do not have a projector handy, so I will either be testing most of this without a screen, or by hooking the computer up to my television.

The Bluetooth dongle:
I have a Rocketfish Bluetooth dongle from Best Buy (I had it from a couple years ago) that apparently doesn't like to work with the Wiimote. It detects the Wiimote just fine, puts it in my peripherals list, but doesn't let me pair with it.
This is what I'm looking at right now, as I post this, but it's a pretty lengthy list, and I of course have to find a retailer for the right dongle once I find it. What would generally be the best bluetooth dongle for me to invest in, that is compatible with Windows XP (and ideally, Vista/7, for when I get a desktop) and is easy to set up? What I want to avoid is having to pair the device every single day when I show up to class (or worse, if I turn the computer on after class has begun), so I'd prefer something that I can use by just turning the computer on, turning the Wiimote on, and basically calling it good. Should also have good range, though I don't assume this would be a problem (the few that I've seen that list range have been about 30 feet, which is good, but more is of course better since there're some big classrooms I may wind up in).

The display:
As much as I'd like to do rear-projection, it's just not practical for me to expect to be able to use, not to mention transport from place to place. Plus, many classrooms have projectors mounted on the ceiling, anyway.

The Wiimote(s):
Right now, I have one Wiimote. I understand that you can use up to 4 for tracking purposes, which will essentially make a pen that you use more accurate/trackable should one of the Wiimotes be blocked or a little further away (is this correct?). Would it be possible to use more than 4, for several purposes? For example, if I use 4 Wiimotes for tracking the pen peripheral, can I use one for tracking another IR device, or another for, say, a head-tracking device? This is mostly not a concern right now, but as I've said, I'd like to be able to possibly add on to the whole thing later.

The pen:
I know how to build one (sort of), but would like some suggestions as to where I can get the 'best' parts, or how I can create one that's a bit different than one with a push-button (the big complaint I've heard is that your finger can get tired after using one of these all day long). Is it possible to construct a pen that works by pressing it onto the surface to turn the IR LED on? Is there a good schematic anywhere (or even a premade peripheral) that does this?

Setup and calibration:
I haven't found much out about this, unfortunately, but what I'd like to know is, how much work/preparation is needed to set something like this up everyday? Do I need to reconnect the Wiimote everytime I restart the computer, and recalibrate the screen each time, for example?

Again, I apologize if I've somehow aggravated anyone by posting all of these questions, which may very well have answers readily available on this very site. Any help, however, would be appreciated - thanks in advance!
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« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2010, 10:04:40 AM »

Hi Mr Joe,

One Wiimote should be sufficient for most cases. You may only need 2 Wiimotes if you are using Smoothboard's Whiteboard and Presenter mode simultaneously or would like better tracking.

However, more Wiimotes will be more troublesome to handle.

You can purchase the mini Bluetooth adaptor from our resellers as listed on http://www.smoothboard.net/resellers. If you are using the Microsoft Bluetooth stack, you may connect the Wiimote automatically with SmoothConnect.

For the pen, it would be best if you just purchase a pre-made one instead of making it youself. This will save you a lot of time. Smiley

You may take a look at the Smoothboard User Guide for detailed information, http://www.smoothboard.org/manual

Regards,
Boon Jin
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