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Keep on Rockin in the Wii World (Wii Whiteboard - Part 5)

Posted September 30, 2008 6:00 AM by ShakespeareTheEngineer

The project was finally a go. I received the Bluetooth Adapter that I needed to start building my own interactive whiteboard. I used Johnny Lee's model and software, which he offers for free to anyone who wants to give this higher tech DIY project a shot.

The Essentials: Hardware

It would be easier to get this going on state-of–the- art machines that GlobalSpec has, as they are cutting edge. But what school has machines like that, and that they'd allow teachers to experiment on? So I decided to try this process on something more realistic for a teacher – an old laptop and some discount hardware you can buy at Wal-Mart.

  • The Computer:
    • 2002 Dell Inspiron 4150 Notebook
      • Intel Pentium 4 Processor
      • 1.19 GHz
      • 384 MB RAM
      • 30 GB Hard Drive
      • Windows XP - Service Pack 2
  • HP Bluetooth USB Adapter – bt500 ($35)
    • My supervisor had the chance to get one for $10, but it was back ordered and wouldn't arrive until two days before my last day. He ended up going with the more expensive model, but it appears either would work.
  • A Standard Nintendo Wiimote
    • While I could have snagged one at Wal-Mart, I am using one on loan from GlobalSpec. Only the greatest of companies has a Nintendo Wii in-house.

The Essentials: Software

  • BlueSoleil – Bluetooth Software
    • This software was free of charge, and the link is on Johnny Lee's Wiimote site. I didn't end up using it because my adapter came with its own software that worked for the project.
  • Wii Whiteboard v02
    • Also free and can be found on Lee's site.

When the Going Gets Tough – The Tough Use Forums

I downloaded the two programs and tried to get going. It took some fumbling, but I managed to get the USB Bluetooth Adapter installed and working properly. However, the Wiimote wasn't turning on. After several minutes of struggling, it was determined the batteries were dead.

Soon enough, though, following the "Read Me" file that was attached with the Whiteboard Software, I was able to push the right buttons in the right order, and the Wiimote was synced with my computer.

All I had to do was open the Whiteboard software and I would be in business. And that is where everything fell apart – at least for the next hour.

When I tried to start the program, it wouldn't initialize and I received the following message, repeatedly: "The application failed to initialize properly (0xc0000135). Click on OK to terminate the application." I tried downloading an older version of the software. I tried downloading it to a different computer. I hopped on a few different forums and found that some people were having the same problems and no solutions really presented beyond using an older version of BlueSoleil, which I wasn't using to begin with.

I combed the "Read Me" file repeatedly and FINALLY stumbled across a potential solution. Johnny Lee stated that his program was tested on Windows XP – Service Pack 2 machine (which I had) with .Net Framework 2.0 (which I didn't know if I had, nor had I ever heard of). I decided, since it was a Microsoft product and was free, to give it a whirl. I downloaded it and installed it. Bingo! When I relaunched Whiteboard v02, it fired right up, located the Wiimote, and even clued me in on how much battery power was left. I had completed the first step: Wiimote and computer were now officially talking.

Next Blog: Getting an I.R. LED Pen and calibrating it to the computer and Wiimote.

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Guru
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#1

Re: Keep on Rockin in the Wii World (Wii Whiteboard - Part 5)

09/30/2008 7:52 AM

Shakes, I am following your blog with anticipation. Great stuff, man.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Keep on Rockin in the Wii World (Wii Whiteboard - Part 5)

09/30/2008 8:03 AM

Thanks, Vulcan. The end result was fairly satisfying, so hopefully the blogs won't disappoint!

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#3

Re: Keep on Rockin in the Wii World (Wii Whiteboard - Part 5)

09/30/2008 8:35 AM

Sounds interesting! It's fun to play GlobalSpec's Wii which is already set up (and like you say, there are a lot of hi-tech toys). I just got a Wii at home and some of the setup was frustrating because I didn't really know what I was doing and couldn't be bothered to read the instructions. I can't imagine doing what you're doing - but I'm sure the concept alone will make kids more receptive to learning!

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#4
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Re: Keep on Rockin in the Wii World (Wii Whiteboard - Part 5)

09/30/2008 8:54 AM

It isn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be, once I was able to fiddle around with the tech for a while. Practical applications in the classroom will be the true measuring tool as to whether or not this was a good investment of time and resources!

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Keep on Rockin in the Wii World (Wii Whiteboard - Part 5)

09/30/2008 12:39 PM

Your bluetooth's adventure has reminded mine own which I bought some years ago just for $10[there was expired license for software, then "updated" driver eventually hanged up the PC].

I do like also such new and "unperfect" hard- software which do not allow brains to sour. I think it could be interesting to offer the kids[at least some of them] to repeat all installation process by their own. It could show them some instructive aspects of life. I wouldn't be so surprised if somebody could appear as a very smart here.

IT in education sphere is very interesting thing. The main its feature which I noted is there so often occurs that a good student could stay a teacher for his good and experienced tutor.

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#6

Re: Keep on Rockin in the Wii World (Wii Whiteboard - Part 5)

09/30/2008 12:56 PM

Out of curiosity, because I know my laptop came bluetooth capable when I got it about 2 years ago, doesn't it generally come standard with recently built laptops? Or is bluetooth capability just an option?

Also, I know that laptops were built to be wireless. Since I never had a need for a bluetooth adapter, does it also work for desktop computers? A lot of computers at my high school were merely old dirty desktops. I don't think any teachers of mine that actually owned or had access to a laptop. In this day and age, they more than likely still don't.

I suppose that the real question here is: Is this Interactive Wii Whiteboard as applicable for desktops as it is for laptops?

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Keep on Rockin in the Wii World (Wii Whiteboard - Part 5)

09/30/2008 1:14 PM

Bluetooth is a communication standard for wireless devices proposed the Ericsson and someone else [I can't remember] in 198x. It was promoted, but seems it lost its popularity due to known disadvantages [low speed].

Some of laptops were equiped bluetooth devices some weren't. Yes, it's rather an option. As for desktop PC you can buy blutooth stick with USB connector. It's no too costly, some $5-10 or so.

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: Keep on Rockin in the Wii World (Wii Whiteboard - Part 5)

09/30/2008 1:30 PM

Caramba seems to have a great grip on Bluetooth. Many newer machines have it. A USB bluetooth adapter does allow you to carry accessibility to any machine. I plan to set this up on my desktop at school as it is a staionary fixture (so I don't have to constantly connect to the projector - the wires for which are run through the wall).

In other words, the advantage of the USB Bluetooth is that you can use it on any machine that you choose to install the software on. You don't need to have wireless accessibility, as the bluetooth connection is direct bewteen the Wiimote and the computer itself.

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#9
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Re: Keep on Rockin in the Wii World (Wii Whiteboard - Part 5)

09/30/2008 2:00 PM

Oh, not it the least I have as you said a great grip on one. Simply as engineer I had [and have] permanent interest concerning any communication standards. Have you recall IrDA (infrared)? How much users today use it? Bluetooth came on stage just after it. Then WiFi.

In my everyday needs I use old RS232 ComPort, which now being pushed off by USB. It was a great mess just recently for me how to program the controller through laptop which had all "bells and whistles" but had not possessed the old good ComPort.

Bluetooth is reliable and it's suit yours project needs completely.

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Re: Keep on Rockin in the Wii World (Wii Whiteboard - Part 5)

09/30/2008 2:17 PM

For relatively low traffic (some less than 1 Mbit per sec) bluetooth pretty fits your needs, but novadays education content with a lot of multimedia can make process of down- uploading anxiously endless.

I'm sure your laptop is stuffed an embedded WiFi. There are WiFi USB sticks as well, its prices are comparable with bluetooth's devices.

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Users who posted comments:

caramba (4); Jaxy (1); SavvyExacta (1); ShakespeareTheEngineer (3); Vulcan (1)

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