Creating a WiiMote interactive white board at my school for under $50.

So someone sent me a link to the video below and I decided to act upon it.  I thought I would link my resources I find for this project here, and keep you all up to date on how it is working.

The immediate attraction for this project was the idea of being able to create an interactive white board for what looks like close to $50.  Our school currently has three Smartboards at the Upper school and three Smartboards at the lower school and three times that many classrooms at each building.  This means that only 1 out 3 lessons is taught using a Smartboard at best, and teachers tend not to use the Smartboards.  Part of the problem here is the Smartboard technology is not immediately obvious how to use, and part of it is because of training, but access to a Smartboard is a big problem for most teachers.

First I had to do some research into the controllers themselves which are necessary, which are basically a Nintendo WiiMote and a Bluetooth receiver on your laptop.  According to Amazon the WiiMote costs about $35 and the Bluetooth receiver costs about $4.   You might also want a cheap tripod to mount the Wiimote onto, that should cost another $15 or so and is useful but optional (my tripod cost me 9 dollars) since in the video below you can see Johnny mounts the Wiimote directly on top of the LCD projector.  You also need an LED pen, which you can apparently build for about 5 dollars or purchase online.  Total cost so far is 44 dollars or if you are lucky and find a cheap tripod (like I did), 53 dollars.

As for turning the Wiimote into an interactive white board, Johnny Lee (the inventor of this process) has instructions up on his website.  He has also created a community forum where you can post questions, and if it is like most online communities I know, get answers to your questions.

Johnny Lee has also presented at TED, so you know there are some very smart people who love (and have tested) his idea.  What I really love is the demonstration of the VR system he has designed using pretty much the same hardware with some different software.

Here’s a good video showing a pressure sensitive pen, which will make writing much easier.  The brand name of the pen casing is called Tide-to-go pressure tip pen.  Yes, as in Tide the laundry detergent company.



  • It’s interesting that you are creating this whiteboard! It really does work well as long as you have a strong surface to write on, like a smooth wall or cabinets, or a regular large dry erase board. I made mine last year (first year of teaching) and used it with my 3rd graders. In the process of creating it, I noticed that is was very touchy when calibrating and the slightest touch would set it off and you would have to recalibrate it. I used some different software and here is the list:
    -smoothboard app (a bit more stable than the wiiwhiteboard app)
    -wiiwhiteboard app (created by johnny lee)
    -also I used a whiteboard program that I can’t remember the name (i’m sure there are a ton more now, like etherpad or even a sketching program like odosketch)

    Make sure that when you use the dongle that you have that plugged in first and then try to connect the wiimote. That was the trickiest part and the most unstable in setting up the board. I haven’t tried to install the whiteboard this year, since I have moved classes and don’t have the area to create the whiteboard. Let me know if you have any other questions, it’s a fun little project (as long as it works).


    also i used a company called penteractive for pens (they are created by a teacher in kentucky I believe).

  • David Wees wrote:

    Yeah I found the website for the pens. It’s and they charge $8 a pen. I suppose that is reasonable given that they are choosing materials which they know will work with the Wiimote white board. The materials for the pens cost under 2 dollars so I hope shipping is cheap! Can’t see that it is worth my time buying the individual materials for each pen and assembling them. I’ll go with this company. I’m also glad to hear that the alternate Smart board software is good. It’s only 29.99 which is cheap, but no idea if it works or not. If I can get this up and running and it’s smooth, I’ll be piloting these with teachers at school.

  • David Wees wrote:

    I just found out that company wants to charge 26 dollars for shipping for the two pens and I’m not willing to spend a total of 42 dollars for two pens which I could make for 2. Looks like I’m constructing them myself. Yech.

  • Marcos y Luis wrote:

    Mr. Wees
    we are two young students in mathematics education in the country of Chile. we work for our English II course
    Along with health, we want to congratulate you on your blogs, which have used the mathematics and education in an innovative way. to call us a lot of attention MATHBLOG your blog, working interactively mathematics, which makes students to demonstrate some interest to what are the use and learning of numbers.
    We also very interested in the personal blog as it encompasses not only mathematics but also the tremendous work involves teaching, as there are various factors affecting the cognitive process.

    You would like to ask you a question regarding matblog, how games teach from trigonometry?

    With this we parted, waiting for a timely response from you, thank you very much again for your attention and congratulations for his work in education and teaching of mathematics.

  • WiildOs 1.3.2 is out,
    WiildOs is an educational live and installable GNU/Linux distro build
    from the Ardesia stuff and thinking for teaching purposes. It includes
    the software that enable you to use a wiimote whiteboard.

    WiildOs includes lubuntu-desktop, python-whiteboard, ardesia, sankore,
    spotlighter, curtain, florence-ramble, wmgui, wiican, easystroke,
    whyteboard, vmg, shutter, gimp, tuxpaint, tuxmath, tuxtype, dia,
    scribus, audacity, stellarium, xournal, gcompris, geogebra, wxmaxima,, jokosher, musescore, solfege, stellarium, dasher,
    eviacam and more!

    More info on

    Build a wiildOs4win wubi like installer that allow to install wiildOs
    inside windows without partitioning the hard disk.

    – new kernel 2.6.35; this add the support to some new devices including
    the toshiba bluettoth
    – thunderbird in now the default mailer instead of sylpheed
    – firefox is the default browser instead of chromium
    – removed xscreensaver for performance issue
    – remove all the gnome office suite; we use openoffice suite
    – fix the wiican program; now you can you use the wiimote as controller
    usinf the infrared camera or the accelerometers in a visual user
    friendly way

  • David Wees wrote:

    This certainly looks like a comment copy & pasted from somewhere else, but it seems like useful information, so I’ll leave this comment up. To those of you coming to this page for advice, remember to be careful when installing 3rd party OS onto your computer.

  • Hi everyone,
    I am planning to do a project using wiimote to create an interactive whiteboard with enhanced features. I have downloaded the initial source code from But I want to modify the source code. Can anyone please suggest the best tool with which I can edit and compile the code?

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