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I've really been looking into an inexpensive alternative to multi-touch, and came across this video. A lot of folks want multi touch capabilities for their classrooms with the everyday software they use. I guess if you're tech savy and don't mind running a 'nix setup in class, this could work until we have Windows 7 freely available.

Wiimote Interactive Whiteboard / Terrible tracking distance
« on: January 11, 2009, 01:37:33 AM »
So tonight was the first time I've used the whiteboard setup with a projector on a wall. Up until now, I've just pointed the wiimote at my computer screen to fiddle around. But I hooked up a very simple setup with a projector in public and it nearly failed.

I had absolutely no problem hooking the wiimote to the computer, and I had no problem setting up the calibration. The wiimote was seeing the light from the pen, but it wasn't tracking when I moved the pen. It would only register the first location where the pen was turned on.

Here's my setup:
-Vishay TSAL 6400 pen that I bought from
-WIDDCOM stack.
-XP fully updated
-The wiimote was at about a 45 degree angle to the left in relation to the screen, and about 7-8 feet (2-2.5 meters... I think... I'm a stupid American and don't think in the metric system) away.
-The screen projected was about 3 feet by 4 feet.

Anyway, it seems like it was a pretty good setup, nothing crazy. Why did it not track the motion?

Benpaddlejones asked me to post about ArtRage as a good artist oriented program for the whiteboard.

First off, the website to download it at is

The best thing about it is that it has some pretty cool features for an inexpensive $25 USD. Also, about 90% of its functionality can be accessed through a left click, making it almost ideal for the Wiimote Whiteboard. Changing your brush, brush size, selecting colors, selecting your pressure or hardness etc., are all done with sliders and an intuitive GUI interface.

One of the catchy things is that all the tools and brushes are based off of actual artist tools. One tool is a pencil, and it has the texture of a pencil leaving gaps in the line depending on the type of paper you're drawing on. Then you have a paint brush that picks up and mixes colors as you paint it across them. Then there's the palette knife that realistically smudges colors.

I'm big into graphic design, so I use photoshop quite a bit, so when I found out that ArtRage could import and export to PSD format with layers and blendmodes in tact, that was a large selling point for me.

And best of all, you can download the free version HERE. There is a bit of limited functionality, meaning you don't get as many tools to play with, but the saving and opening isn't limited at all! You can still save, import, open, and create as many images as you'd like with no limitations. To see an exact difference between the full version and the starter version, look HERE.

It's a small download, only 7.8 megs, so go ahead and try it for yourself. I know it surprised me with how good it was for its price.

If you're used to programs like Photoshop of Sketchbook, there is a drop in precision as can be expected. The interface is a lot more like Sketchbook. If you're used to physical paints and whatnot and are just making your way into digital art, this is a great choice.

Project Ideas / Digital Wedding Guestbook
« on: December 20, 2008, 10:01:12 AM »
I don't know how to program very well. I get the concepts behind it all, but I've never actually driven myself to learn any specific language. Actually I have, but I nevr get far into it. Thinking in syntax is fairly foreign for a newbie like myself. As time goes on though, this really seems to be my bane. Nearly every project I embark on gets halted at some point because I don't know how to write software.

Recently I decided to change that. I learned about Processing over at and its focus. I do a lot of graphic design and feel fairly comfortable in a visual 2D environment, so with Processings focus on creating art, I figured it would be a way to ease myself into a structured programming language. This project here seemed simple enough that I could hammer on it until I learned the basics of Processing, and also useful and important enough that I will work on it until it's completed.

Like everyone else here on these boards, I want to leverage the technology the wiimote offers for smaller home projects that would have before only been possible with huge or unreasonable production costs.

This is my idea. Create a digital guestbook to be used at weddings. First of all, the question to be asked is "Why?". The short answer would be because if it was used at a wedding, it would score some serious points with the bride. I'm making it for my future wife. :) The answer for everyone other than myself is because it opens up a ton more possibilities for memories. Having something digital is really no good for memories in the long run, but if something digital is printed or created physically, then a lot more options open up.

The concept is that guestbook signatures would be drawn onto a white tabletop with an IR pen using the wiimote whiteboard technology. Each signature could then be printed in a myriad of places after the wedding, such as a little guestbook, or maybe across a picture of the bride and groom but each signature is embossed in gold. Maybe during the video of the wedding, the editor could take all of the signatures and have them write out across a white background by using a log file of the points created during the signature. Either way, once the signatures are stored digitally, the possibilities become nearly endless with what can be done with that information.

Here I have a Powerpoint presentation that is basically a digital representaion of the flowchart I came up with for the software it would use. The only buttons that work are the navigation buttons such as 'Back' or 'Save'. The main idea is there, but there obviously are some flaws to it right now.
Oh, the file itself will only work correctly in Powerpoint. I used it in OpenOffice, and the buttons didn't work correctly. Same thing happened when I uploaded it to Google Docs.
Start the slideshow at the first slide, and you wont be able to navigate just by going through the slides. Clicking the buttons on screen is what navigates.

What I have there is an opening menu with some different screens to navigate to. The top one is the Guestbook reserved only for signatures. The middle three buttons are reserved for writing a personal note to either the Bride, Groom, or Both at the same time. The entire screen in opened for writing a note in these screens. On the bottom is a button for recording a video message. A lot of the more expensive weddings I've been to have a cameraman hired to walk around and record people saying something to the bride or groom. This would give people the opportunity to do it automatically using a microphone and hi-quality webcam type deal. The files would be saved into a folder.

A very simple setup would be something like this.

Thnaks guys,

Wiimote Gaming & Flash Gaming Projects / Table Top Computer Board Games
« on: December 19, 2008, 08:35:55 PM »
I don't like video games because of their lack of a social aspect. Playing games to me is supposed to be a fun way to enjoy other peoples company while challenging each other. A way to taunt and jeer and just plain have fun. Videogames take away the social aspect, and no matter what is done to re-introduce it (mic's, LAN parties, MMORPG's, etc.), they will never as socially engaging as a board game. When one is used to staring at a screen for entertainment, it's hard to do anything else.

That said, I don't think board games are the end all be all of game entertainment. Yes I think they're more wholesome and fulfilling in the long run, there's only so much you can do with them before they become too tedious or boring. I also think that technology should be taken advantage of in its fullest extent. So my idea is to blend the complex number crunching ability and graphics capabilities of computers with the social aspect of board games.

I set up this powerpoint presentation to explain the concept. Basically it's a wiimote whiteboard projected onto a table.
In the powerpoint, I describe some advantages and disadvantages of games as they are now.

This is a powerpoint presentation describing one of the many ways that this setup could be leveraged. I reworked the classic game RISK to fit the limitations and possibilities of being a table top computer board game.

Here's a thread I started a while ago that uses the same concept, but is gear toward single player instead of multi player. This was mainly an exercise to see if I could simplify the controls for an existing game to fit the limitations of the wiimotes tracking.

One of these days I'll be able to get past prototyping and actually implement something. :) I made both of these mostly so I wouldn't forget, but also so I could use them as a way to introduce them to folks on the internet, or to someone who's very visual.

Thanks guys,

Two posts down, insertnick posted a link to a thread here on the Wiimote Project boards with a goal of finding the cheapest projectors around so they could be used for a table top computer board game setup. Check out the thread here.

Say Hi! / Scott of the Oregon
« on: December 16, 2008, 10:40:41 AM »
Hey all, I'm Scott and I live in Oregon here in the States.

I'm easy going, a goofball, and I like to think I have a lot of cool ideas... but don't we all.

I don't know how to program, I don't know how to solder, I don't know much anything really cool and I ticks me off! I'm getting there though. I know I think like a programmer, but without any programming experience (other than GameMaker), it's hard to prove it.

I'm using this opportunity of having a great piece of hardware already lying around to teach myself about things I wouldn't have access to otherwise.

I love to tinker. I'm not satisfied until it is something my own, which I guess is a good thing or I'd never do anything new. I'm poor, so I tinker with things I have lying around and don't cost money. :) For example, I mod videogames... not because I'm a gamer at all, but because the medium was there and it was inexpensive past the initial purchase. I love design. I have so little knowledge of how to implement designs past a paper prototype, but I have lots of those paper prototypes lying around. I'm using the wiimote project here as a way to push my learning further than what it has been in the past.

You can't get rid of me, sorry, I'm here to plague you all with my ideas and praise you for yours. Let's get this project into every facet of mankind! ...or something like that.

Wiimote Interactive Whiteboard / Smoothboard Order of Operations
« on: December 16, 2008, 10:28:50 AM »
I'm writing a program that will be used as a digital guestbook at weddings that I'll post into the project forums once I actually have something more tangible than an idea.

My concern is this. I'm using Smoothboard as the tracking software, and I'm coding the guestbook in Processing. Being able to sign a guestbook is pretty important i think, which is why using the wiimote is perfect for this application. Anyway, the code I've been working on is to make a good input for handwriting.

When I draw with the mouse, it works perfectly. Separate lines.

When I run the program and use the IR pen, the left click seems to work a bit differently.

As you can see I can draw a line just fine, but when I place the pen to a new spot and click the button to 'left-click' again, a line is created between the last point and the current point. It's like Smoothboard activates the click just before it jumps to the new location. No good.

When I do the same thing in any other drawing program, such as Paint or Photoshop etc, it doesn't have this problem.

I have no idea where to start looking for the source of the problem. Maybe it's an operation order within Processing, maybe it's in Smoothboard. I'm not really sure. Any suggestions?

General Discussion / Correct aspect of projection?
« on: December 11, 2008, 10:21:48 PM »
The issue I have with projecting the screen onto a desk is that the perspective is all screwed up. If you were to take a rectangle and trace it onto the screen, the object will appear to be the correct shape, but if that image were saved and looked at later on the computer screen, the rectangle would be a trapezoid; larger at the top because of the projected angle. While this isn't an issue when using it for office or presentations, using it for more precise applications such as photo manipulation etc would cause problems.

The simplest fix would be to use the perspective adjustments built into the projector to correct the issue, but not all projectors (and especially not the low end ones) have this feature built in.

I want to be able to calibrate the screen display coming from the computer to only display in a portion of the projected area. The screen would be the correct aspect and ratio on the surface it's projected onto, but skewed on the computer display. This would reduce the resolution of the tangible area, but even using the Wiimote Whiteboard, I'm usually only taking advantage of about 20 to 30 percent of the tracking resolution. It doesn't seem that it would bee to big of an issue.

Though I'm not confident in my writing eloquence, I hope the images help to illustrate my concerns and ideas.

Is there anything created that could do this already? I know Johnny Lee has the automatic surface tracking system, but I don't need anything that powerful. Just a one time calibration is all that would be necessary.

IR Pens / How do drawing tablets pens work?
« on: December 09, 2008, 06:44:39 AM »
I own a wacom drawing tablet that has a pressure tip with multiple levels of sensitivity. The pen is not attached physically to the tablet, but as the pen moves close to the tablet, it creates a signal between the two and registers what buttons are pressed on the pen. I've looked around briefly to see how that works, but haven't found it yet. Also, my tablets pen either doesn't need power, or the energy cost to send those signals is low enough that the batteries never need to changed.

If there was a program running on the computer that could register buttons pushed on an IR pen, then the limit of only having one form of input could be overcome. It's annoying to only be able to move the cursor, or only click when using a program such as Autodesk's Sketchbook Pro where some features are built to support moving the cursor by hovering the pen above the tablet, then immediately tapping the tablet to activate a click. Also, adding a pressure sensitivity feature would be nice for drawing with different sensitivities.

Basically, if the pen could communicate with the computer digitally, then the only thing the camera would need to do is track it's physical location. All the clicking information could be sent through other methods.

I'm going to assume that the same technology used for the tablet pens connection would not be ideal, but then again either would hooking a bluetooth to your pen or something like that.

Project Ideas / Single input stylus RTS game
« on: December 06, 2008, 01:04:44 AM »
I'm not a big gamer, but I love game design. After stumbling across this site, I've been soaking up the idea of the multi-touch whiteboard concept. I've worked on design concepts that would combine the graphical and calculating power of computer games with the social interaction of board games for a few years now, but none of the ideas were cost effective in the slightest. I was playing with construction costs upwards in the 10,000's easily. I'm not rich, so they never got made.  ;D

After stumbling across this though, I started seeing that there were other avenues I hadn't explored yet. Basically using a projector as the display device and using the Wiimote as the input reader dropped costs far below what I could have ever hoped for.

With the large step of the platform out of the way I could focus on what I actually liked doing, designing, with the luxury of having the knowledge of the system limitations. I like Real Time Strategy (RTS) games on the computer because I like RISK as a board game. I've wanted to create something that could take the best of both worlds and combine them in a board game fashion, where people could sit around a table and enjoy each others company playing an RTS style game, or something similar, with the ability to save it and walk away at any time.

So I took the game play ideas from the simplest RTS I knew and customized the controls to fit just using a single IR pen and nothing else. No work has actually been done, but the ideas are there. This is a link to the PowerPoint presentation I made that explains it.

View here:

Or download here:

I didn't explain the controls and game play style of the original game, but a quick google and some youtube videos could cure you of that if you're not familiar with the game.

I'm just throwing it out in the open for feedback and whatnot, but unless someone is really gung-ho about it not much is going to happen for awhile. I plan on creating a prototype demo in the future using processing.


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