Wiimote-based Whiteboard Lets You Write On Any Surface


The Wiimote is a fantastic tool for hackers, given their affordability and how easy they are to work with. [Gareth] had a “eureka” moment while working on another Wiimote-based project, and with some alterations, converted it into an electronic whiteboard.

The whiteboard was built using the IR sensor he extracted from a Wiimote, which is wired to an EasyProp board to process the input. The Wiimote is aimed at a LCD screen, which can be “drawn” upon using a light pen he constructed from an IR led and a few batteries. Any movement of the pen is tracked by the Wiimote’s IR sensor and converted to an XY coordinate, which is then painted on the screen. The sensor has the ability to track up to four points at a time, so you can theoretically use up to four pens simultaneously.

[Gareth] points out that the sensor is not limited to tracking small displays, as the white board can be easily scaled up in size using any kind of rear projection device.

Continue reading to see a video of his whiteboard in action.


15 thoughts on “Wiimote-based Whiteboard Lets You Write On Any Surface

  1. its not the what, but the how. normaly you would need the full wiimote and a bluetooth compatable computer…. This just uses the sensor into custom hardware – Parallax Propeller chips to be exact Lots of work went into this. Awsome!

  2. I’m with j_jwalrus here. If this could be done in a way where calibration, sensing, and mouse emulation were all in an external package it could be really good for getting it into peoples hands. It would be WAY cleaner then the Bluetooth paring, right dongle, correct stack that is required today. Plug and play whiteboarding would be awesome for teachers and others doing interactive work.

  3. Many people use whiteboards in the course of their work and a digitized version can provide many benefits. What I don’t get, is people insisting on including parts of the solution that may make sense from a pure engineering or geek perspective (like suggesting using on a rear projection device) but make NO sense for the real-world communities that could benefit. Think about it… yes a front projection system would result in shadows blocking the writing when you are standing in front of it but lets step back – when you stand at a whiteboard and write, you block it!!! Hooking an IR sensor up to a projector and shining it at a white wall has 1,000 times more useful scenarios than any rear projection or LCD scenarios….

  4. mounting of the IR sensors is an issue too. Having the ability to mount it just like an ultra short throw (where it is a foot or soo off the wall) would be rather advantageous, in reguards to the screen tracking that is blocked when your arm covers the “unseen” area. This is somewhat taken care of using a PC to use input from multiple wii-motes, but it would be cool to see it done on the hardware level.

  5. Yea, the cool part here is the I2C bus to read blob-tracking data directly from the wii-mote camera (rather than parsing it with a bluetooth-enabled computer). I was wondering how difficult this would be. It would be cool to use something like this for ceiling-based navigation in a robot (like that one robot-vacuum cleaner).

  6. Eages, you mean the Johnny Lee that the guy cites as his inspiration in the first sentence of his write up, or the Johnny Lee that he mentions in the title of his page?

    RTFA before you comment next time!


    Durr de durr de durr

  7. Hey, the eighties called, and they want their light pens back…!

    Seriously. Way to prove we can do something we decided wasn’t worth doing over twenty years ago – except now we use a CAMERA to do it! W00t!

  8. @Max

    Exactly. Any hobby project anyone ever does should be fully devoted to solving current scientific or engineering problems in the most optimal way possible. NO FUN ALLOWED!

  9. there is actually a utah based business that gives digital white boards to schools (literally, they dont sell they donate). they are very similar to this, but they use touch screen instead of infrared. they have been at it for about ten years now in fact.

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