Fifty Euro Whiteboard

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Wiimote Interactive Whiteboard

Because of the serious nature of the lack of funding for technology in schools here in Ireland, we have had to undertake a challenging project to help our students have access to technology. We are not recommending that every school try this, but we have found it to be beneficial in our attempts to give our students an equal opportunity to their counterparts in other countries. We have created a very cheap, affordable interactive whiteboard using a wii remote, Bluetooth connection, and a homemade infrared torchlight as an interactive pen. We have used our classroom wall boards as the projection area and we have been happy with the results.
The posts below outline how we made the interactive whiteboard and we want to share our findings with the many other under-funded schools who cannot afford the €5000 that interactive whiteboards usually cost.

If you would like to view a video of how to make this board, you can follow this link to Teacher Tube or click below.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Calibrating the whiteboard

The calibration software for the whiteboard can be found at . There is also a very clear video to explain the process there too. Once the calibration software links to the wiimote, you can calibrate your screen in the normal way.

Positioning the wiimote

The location of the wiimote is crucial to the performance of the whiteboard. It is suggested that the wiimote is located at a 45 degree angle to the board. If you have problems calibrating the board, then it is best to experiment with the position of the wiimote.

Making an interactive pen

In this section, we look at how we can create a interactive pen.
There are many helpful hints about this at . We modified some of the ideas there and came up with our own keychain light pen, which works very well. Because we had no soldering iron and had no understanding of technical electronic terms, we looked for a simple process of connecting a battery to a bulb.

Our first working attempt was using a syringe from our science equipment, a battery and an infrared bulb. This worked well but was too difficult to manipulate.

We had many other attempts using biros with lights on the end but the most successful attempt was when we used the keychain light and removed the LED light and replaced it with our IR bulb.

We bought the keychain lights in Archway Stores, Castlebar, Co. Mayo and bought some similar ones in Westport.

We bought our infrared light bulbs on eBay. These were the specific details:
10 of SFH415 U IR-LED
maximum of emission 950nm (infrared)

UF 1,3V
IF 100mA
manufacturer SIEMENS

We then unscrewed the back of the light and removed the LED bulb. We replaced it with the IR bulb.

It is important to remember that IR light cannot be seen with the naked eye and has to be viewed through a digital camera or mobile phone camera.

It is also important to remember that the bulb must not be recessed in the holder; it needs to protrude to pick the connection with the wiimote.

This new light was to become our interactive pen for the whiteboard.

Connecting via Bluetooth to a wiimote

Bluetooth Connection

We installed the Bluetooth dongle using the CD that was shipped with it according to the instructions. Our photo shows the dongle inserted into our computer. After some failed attempts to connect via Bluetooth to the wiimote, we found that the following way worked every time:

Click your 1 and 2 buttons on the wiimote to get the blue lights flashing. You may need to this once or twice more during the connection process. Launch your Bluetooth software and go to Add a Bluetooth Device. When the software looks for a code, go to Skip and you will be connected.
You can download a 1.57 MB movie of what it looks like here


Thursday, May 29, 2008

The main ingredients for a wiimote interactive whiteboard and where to find them

The main ingredients for creating an interactive wiimote whiteboard

A Bluetooth Dongle:
If your computer is not Bluetooth enabled, you need to purchase a Bluetooth dongle. We bought ours from for £5.99 (sterling).

A Nintendo Wii Remote:
The wiimote cost about €28 on ebay.

A Keychain Light with LED bulb:
Ours was 99c in Archway Stores, Castlebar, Co. Mayo.

Infrared Bulbs:
We bought 10 for £0.99 on ebay

Calibration Software
This was free from

Good Advice:
Free also from

We needed to make the Bluetooth connect with the wiimote. Once we had established that, we replaced the regular LED in the keychain light with an IR bulb to make an interactive pen. We then calibrated the screen using Johnny Chung Lee’s software and used our interactive pen in the normal manner. Each step here will be outlined in detail now.

Fifty Euro Whiteboard

Inver National School /Scoil Náisiúnta an Inbhir is typical of many schools in Ireland who have received no funding for the inclusion of technology in education since 2002. As a result, its original bank of computers and technology equipment is now of no use. However, even if DES cannot see how crucial technology is in the processes of teaching and learning and living, the staff of the school can. They have recently been watching Johnny Chung Lee at Where he has developed interesting ideas around affordable whiteboard technology using a wiimote ( the remote control for the Nintendo Wii). Inver National School have developed their own €50 whiteboard so as to enable their students to engage with technology as easily as other students all over the world who have fair access to technology. This area of our web site will be devoted to sharing our learning with other schools whose funding has been as abysmal as ours and who wish to learn how to make their own wiimote whiteboards.

The discussion will be under six main headings:
The main ingredients, where to locate them and their prices.
Blue-tooth connection
The interactive ‘pen’
Locating the wiimote
Locating Johnny Lee’s calibration software
Getting going