December 14, 2007

Using the Wiimote to create a £40 multi-touch interactive whiteboard

Will must have finally ended up with some spare time hunting around YouTube this morning to find this. University researcher Johnny Chung Lee has taken a £34.25 Wiimote, some old ballpoint pens and some infrared buttons you could find in your Physics department to create a system that can turn any surface into a multi-touch interactive surface, much like that shown off my Jeff Han earlier this year.

Give the amount of effort Learning and Teaching Scotland has put into promoting gaming for learning, and the approval from our regulatory body that has been illustrated in the awarding of the George Gray Research prize to a project about Rollercoaster Tycoon for enterprise education, it's really great to see yet more uses for the technology that go beyond simply playing the games. In this case, it's just the remote control to the popular Wii gaming console.

And, as Will points out, it's a great example of the importance of sharing, the importance of openness in the research, teaching and learning processes. Johnny could have done what other academics do: present it at a big conference and get the plaudits years after having worked this out, meaning us mere mortals in the classroom would have had to either work it out the hard way or miss a great opportunity. He didn't. He presented on YouTube, and then took the process apart so that we can do it ourselves.

If only more teachers and academics shared their nuggets of brilliance in this way. Take a look yourself and be in awe.


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It's brilliant - both the cleverness and the sharing. But I had first to get over thinking that he was talking about a "wee mote"...

Its a great use of technology. In fact I showed it this morning to a Product Design High Class as an example of Transferable Technology.
One of the reasons that we have decided not to use IWB's predominately within classes. We use Tablet PC's and wireless projectors. So the teacher can stand anywhere.
But the multitouch is very appealling

This is superb ... makes you feel good about the whole technology thing.

You know, watching the video again, he mentions how the pen is basically an LED flashlight. That made me think LED pointer. I don't see any reason you couldn't use something like this and not fight the dangling wire.

I just might have to buy one now. Can anyone who already has a Wii confirm the laser pointer technique?

The Wiimote is an infrared camera, so I'd imagine you'd need an infrared laser.

Definitely an interesting concept but as we stopped using infra red remote controls (associated normally with data projectors) in our schools for Health and Safety reasons would Johnny's solution come into this category?

Gosh, tell me more. I'll have a wee google in the meantime for what the dangers are. Think of all those slightly radioactive kids this Christmas... ;-)

Great invention but good luck finding a Wii at this time of year to try it out :-)

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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