Wiimote Project » Wiimote Projects » Wiimote Interactive Whiteboard » Ceiling mounting and remote syncing
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: Ceiling mounting and remote syncing  ( 15548 )
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« : November 09, 2008, 11:39:35 AM »

Hi all,

I have an idea about how to accomplish remote syncing that would be easy to deploy in a variety of environments with little cost or effort.  I wanted to get some feedback on what people think, so please try it out.  This is geared toward whiteboard applications, but there might be other uses as well.

Background:
In a classroom setting, with multiple possible instructors, it would be ideal to have the Wiimote permanently mounted on the ceiling to get a good consistent view of the board.  There are a number of possible solutions, such as the pole mount available from 3PInteract.  However, there seems to be the lingering issue with all these solutions that you have to reach high up to press the 1 & 2 buttons to sync the Bluetooth connection.  Some solutions have been proposed, such as taping the buttons permanently down or soldering in a remote switch to activate the 1 & 2 buttons (or the red sync button under the battery cover), but these both have their issues.  If the buttons are taped permanently down, then the Wiimote is constantly in discovery mode, which would present numerous problems, especially in a building with many Wiimotes installed.  Any user with a Class 1 Bluetooth transceiver would likely "see" all the Wiimotes in the building.  As for opening up the Wiimote and soldering into it, this is labor intensive, it presents quality control issues, and it makes the system more difficult to service or replace down the road.

New solution:
I propose instead to plug the Wiimote AC adapter (see other posts) into an outlet with a wall switch.  If the red sync button is held permanently down (with a small block, for example), then the unit will go into discovery mode for only the first 20 seconds after being powered on, and during this time a Bluetooth connection can be established.  If a connection is not established in that time, the unit goes quiet, and a user can flick the switch off and on to try again.  This solution has the advantages that it makes use of pre-existing remote technology (switched outlets), and it is easy and affordable to implement.  Furthermore, it doesn’t permanently modify the Wiimote (thus the units are easy to replace down the road).  If a switched outlet isn’t available near the Wiimote, one can be created using a product such as the Lutron Anywhere Switch (Lutron 6697).  Finally, it doesn’t present the security issues of having the unit constantly in discovery mode. 

However, there are some quirks and difficulties with this approach.  The user only has 20 seconds to establish the Bluetooth connection.  After this time, the Wiimote will go silent until the power is cycled, thus breaking any connection.  Therefore, the user has only 20 seconds to go from power-on to running an application, which maybe somewhat faster than a typical user would go.  Thus, I would highly recommend using this solution with the WiimoteConnect program, configured to immediately start the end application (such as Smoothboard).  The protocol would include running the WiimoteConnect application, waiting a few seconds, and then powering-on the Wiimote.  In testing, this protocol successfully connects every time.  One condition is that the WiimoteConnect program requires the Microsoft Bluetooth stack (standard in Windows XP SP2 and SP3).  The Bluetooth adapter tested was the Iogear GBU421.

The second quirk is that the Wiimote must completely power down in order to go into discovery mode once the power is restored.  If the Wiimote is in an idle state (has never been connected or has had the connection properly terminated), then it will consume virtually no power, and it can actually remain "alive" for 5-10 seconds after the power is removed.  If the Wiimote doesn’t go into discovery mode when turning the power switch on, a good protocol would be to turn it off for ~5-15 seconds, and then turn it back on.  In testing, this is a reliable way to initiate the discovery process.  Evidently, the AC power to the Wiimote must also not include any sort of batteries.  If there are rechargeable batteries in the Wiimote, you might need to wait weeks for the unit to fully power-down.  Finally, depending on what AC adapter is used, it might be necessary to add a drain resistor in parallel to the Wiimote so that the adapter quickly loses voltage when the AC power is removed (100-300 Ohm should be fine).

Conclusions:
I believe this trick could provide the last link in the chain making the Wiimote a truly enterprise-level whiteboard solution.  I’m excited to hear feedback on these ideas.  Please post here with successes or failures if you try this out

-John
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« #1 : December 05, 2008, 10:32:45 PM »

This is my 1st day posting to this site. Here's what I've done so far.  I'm the first and only teacher on the far north coast of new south wales Australia in the diocese to get this working perfectly. So the I.T experts at CEO keep telling me. They've tried but run in to heaps of problems. I thought this was a scam at 1st and nearly gave up after spending my whole holidays (2 weeks) reading, researching, trialling and erroring. Became so obsessed that it nearly cost me my marriage (HaHa). Having the right pen I'm sure is the key, but position is also very important. After trialling tripods and stands at al  different angles the simplist solution proved to be the best. See below and i'm only too happy to share what I've done if youwant to contact me.
Cheers.
Joe.

Hi Ben,
You seem to be the person most referred to now who is at the forefront of this technology. I'm using this in my classroom seamlessly (much to the envy of my colleagues who don't have an IWB). Those that have Promethean IWB installed have more problems than me!!!!
Next year, Promethean is developing a software upgrade to allow more than 1 pen to be used simultaneously - probably up to 4. Because I can use the promethean software, do you think boonjin's calibration software will also allow multiple pens?? Is there something already being done to get this happening?? Any ideas as to when the new version will be finished??
At the moment, I cant fault it.
I have invested a lot of my own time to perfect the use of it in the classroom environment. Have the wiimote plugged into a power point and mounted on the side of the data projector which is mounted to the ceiling. I experience almost zero blockout and shadow. It's unreal. I've set it up so that I don't even have to climb up and down ladders any more to turn it on! I can get it going as quick as any "professional" IWB.
The new pressure sensitive pens to be released on 14th Dec. look good. I'm just using the OHP screen in my room anyway and it's fine. Any idea how much they'll be??
I've also surpassed the Promethean IWB in regards to handwriting recognition software - which all who use it say that Promethean isn't worth using as it is not accurate.Also Promethean's OSK is useless. It's too small. Again I have a program that surpasses it and has others quite jealous.
Next purhase is a slim or roll up bluetooth keyboard that I can mount adjacent to the screen on the chalkboard to generate even more seemless interactivity!!! All teachers using the Promethean IWB's are constantly having to go from the IWB to their laptop anyway.
I have been developing a great dealof interest from other local schools and head office as this technology is so affordable, especially in this economic downturn.
I'm telling you personally about my success so that you continue with the amazing work you are doing and to congratulate you for making available to wisdom and expertise toso many people. I wish more people were like you.
If there is anything else you would like me to share in regards to my experiences, please email what you would like to know.
I have been virtually living and breathing wiimote IWB for the past 10 weeks. (in all my spare time that is. But also at work from the moment I turn on my laptop to the time I shut it down at the end of the day).
I know that you must be very busy but I would truly welcome a reply.
Yours sincerely,
Joe.

My 1st Post!!! I sent the letter above to Benpaddlejones.This is how I did it though. Works unbelievably well.

1. Data projector is mounted from the ceiling and powerpoint is on the ceiling. Obviously all cabling goes through ceilin and comes out the wall near my desk. This was done as in future we are (or were) going to be installing "proper IWB's in our classrooms when more money was avaliable.
2. I've mounted the wiimote on the side of the projector upside down using just on occy strap and a blob of bluetac to just steady it further.
To turn on the wiimote, I simply use my chalk board ruler to press buttons 1 & 2 simultaneously.
3. I use bluesoleil to connect wiimote as HID.
4. Run boonjin and you're away.
5.Children use it all day.
6. Buy ritepen,a handwriting recognition software program.It's functionality is better than I've seen.

Cheers,
Joe.
Email me at [email protected] if you want any more info.
Would love to hear how you get on!!

The wiimote is powered by a powerpoint.I purchased a battery pack off ebay for $6 delivered, plugged in the usb recharge cord to a phone charger that i had lying around at home. It was the same voltage. It has the usb connection - then I plugged it into the wall. I think the ipod wall charger will work too.Get them cheap, then you never have to worry about batteries again. I was going through a set of batteries every week or so and it was so annoying. Have had it set up permanently now for 7 weeks and it's awesome.

 
Hi Ben,
You seem to be the person most referred to now who is at the forefront of this technology. I'm using this in my classroom seamlessly (much to the envy of my colleagues who don't have an IWB). Those that have Promethean IWB installed have more problems than me!!!!
Next year, Promethean is developing a software upgrade to allow more than 1 pen to be used simultaneously - probably up to 4. Because I can use the promethean software, do you think boonjin's calibration software will also allow multiple pens?? Is there something already being done to get this happening?? Any ideas as to when the new version will be finished??
At the moment, I cant fault it.
I have invested a lot of my own time to perfect the use of it in the classroom environment. Have the wiimote plugged into a power point and mounted on the side of the data projector which is mounted to the ceiling. I experience almost zero blockout and shadow. It's unreal. I've set it up so that I don't even have to climb up and down ladders any more to turn it on! I can get it going as quick as any "profession" IWB.
The new pressure sensitive pens to be released on 14th Dec. look good. I'm just using the OHP screen in my room anyway and it's fine. Any idea how much they'll be??
I've also surpassed the Promethean IWB in regards to handwriting recognition software - which all who use it say that Promethean isn't worth using as it is not accurate.Also Promethean's OSK is useless. It's too small. Again I have a program that surpasses it and has others quite jealous.
Next purhase is a slim or roll up bluetooth keyboard that I can mount adjacent to the screen on the chalkboard to generate even more seemless interactivity!!! All teachers using the Promethean IWB's are constantly having to go from the IWB to their laptop anyway.
I have been developing a great dealof interest from other local schools and head office as this technology is so affordable, especially in this economic downturn.
I'm telling you personally about my success so that you continue with the amazing work you are doing and to congratulate you for making available to wisdom and expertise toso many people. I wish more people were like you.
If there is anything else you would like me to share in regards to my experiences, please email what you would like to know.
I have been virtually living and breathing wiimote IWB for the past 10 weeks. (in all my spare time that is. But also at work from the moment I turn on my laptop to the time I shut it down at the end of the day).
I know that you must be very busy but I would truly welcome a reply.
Yours sincerely,
Joe.

After I sent you an email I found a guy on the forum who was having difficulties setting up his wiimote up high. He was trying to suspend it from the ceiling with string??!! so I posted this. I also sent him the same letter I sent you.

Email me at [email protected] if you want any more info.
Would love to hear how you get on!!

ALSO:
The wiimote is powered by a powerpoint.I purchased a battery pack off ebay for $6 delivered, plugged in the recharge cord to a phone charger that i had lying around at home. It was the same voltage. It has the usb connection - then I plugged it into the wall. Voilla! One fully powered wiimote.I think the ipod wall charger will work too. Get them cheap off ebay, then you never have to worry about batteries again. I was going through a set of batteries every week or so and it was so annoying having to recharge them. I have had it set up permanently now for 7 weeks and it's awesome.
It's my pride and joy and I love showing it off. Everyone is gobsmacked when I tell them it only cost $80 to set up as opposed to the $4000 plus for the one next door that keeps crashing!!

Yeah, so Ben, ritePen is what I bought and the OSK that came with the bluesoleil program is great. You can move it off the screen out of the way so that you can just have the numerical keypad showing.

I have also scanned parts of the students text books as a pdf file. Using foxit reader, you can then write directly onto the page just as the student does. It's a great support and a scaffold for those who experience difficulty. At the end of the lesson, the page is up their for the kids to mark their work from. You can even type straight onto the page in the answer spaces. Hence the reason why I want a remote bluetooth keyboard. Thanks for the advice and would appreciate any other tips. The tip of turning the wiimote upside down for easier access to the buttons has stunned many! They didn't think it would work. So far, I'm the ONLY person in our whole Diocese who has got this up and running and I've had every ICT person from CEO come and check it out. They are trying to arrange time off class for me to help other schools set this up. Highschools seem very interested. Of course I'll mention you and acknowledge your support, effort and time dedicated to this project if you don't mind, that is.

I also bought a wireless Pen Mouse from Salient Technology for $100 about 10 months ago. I can use this (or the students) from anywhere in the room and over-ride the students if the get stuck on the board. It is also capable of writing, but not as quick as when you use the ir pen on the whiteboard. It is also a presenter for powerpoint and has a laser pointer built in too. Couple this with the wiimote system, you then hold it in your left hand for right click,scrolling, laser pointing or presenting and you can still be ANYWHERE in the room to interact with the computer. It works great when we have a floor activity in front of the screen and they use the pen and operate it by "writing" on the carpet or their shorts. Quick, easy and they don't have to get up and move to the front of the room. Lazy - hey!! Children pass this around just like they would pass the PS3 keyboard around that you mentioned.

Thanks for the prompt reply and great advice,
Cheers,
Joe.


jdkestewart
Awesome!

I have a solution for your keyboard needs:
Logitech have released a Bluetooth Keyboard/Touchpad combo for the PS3.
http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/gaming/playstation_3/devices/3616&cl=US,EN
It is a brilliant little unit having a mouse/board combo rocks. I use this not only as a teacher but a device for students to pass arround so they can interact with the IWB from their seats. Cost me only $80Aus!

Multitouch:
As I understand it (I will check) Wiimote can do this. However it is in the application software not the Human Interface Device (HID). Smartboard already have a SmartTable (at $8000 I would suggest the Table is smarter than the purchasor). I have put a requet to the KindleLab opensource IWB software forum to see if they can integrate Johnny Chung Lee's multitouch code with Kindlelab but have not heard back.

But if you are using Activstudio then I'm pretty sure it will work straight out of the box. I ahve much hope for the next Activstudio we are stuck with it in the Department of Education & Training in NSW.

Out of interest which OCR softwrae are you using I know the new version of ritepen is very good, but am always interested to find more.

benpaddlejones :)
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« #2 : April 28, 2011, 09:20:59 PM »

jdkestewart started this thread two and a half years ago, and from my 10 hour reading on the subject I haven't seen any breakthrough in remote syncing since. Has there been?

Using a ruler to push the 1&2 buttons on my two ceiling-mounted wiimotes is not practical for our staff. And I'm not ready to open up my wiimotes to do soldering and make a remote switch for the inside red sync switch.

My best option would be the permanent push of the 1&2 buttons using a piece of plastic and tie-wraps.

jdkestewart: [This] would present numerous problems... Any user with a Class 1 Bluetooth transceiver would likely "see" all the Wiimotes in the building.
Would this be a problem in a school? Is there a risk for the wiimote itself beeing in permanent sync mode?

John, did you implement your idea?

« : April 28, 2011, 09:22:39 PM wazodnuit »
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« #3 : April 30, 2011, 10:42:57 AM »

I found what I was looking for. It's QuickUSB from IR Great Innovations (www.irgreat.com/power.htm).
It allows remote powering of the wiimotes. I'll connect this to a swithchable power bar near my desk.
Simple as: start SmoothBoard software, turn power bar switch on, wiimotes then go into discovery mode, SmoothConnect does the rest.

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« #4 : September 28, 2011, 09:36:06 PM »

Thank you for your support of the QuickUSB. It is starting to become one of our best selling products.

www.irgreat.com/power.htm for more information
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