Can someone tell me if it is true that up to 4 IR pens can work at the same time with the Wiimote software?  I have a Smartboard, but I would like to have 4 students at a time doing stuff on the WiiBoard, if possible.  How would that be done?  If I project a math race game from online, it would only be one person at a time, right? 

 

Does anyone else use 4 IR pens at a time?

 

Also, do the Penteractive pens have pressure sensitive tips? Should I buy them or a different brand?

 

Should I only buy the Wii brand remote? 

 

Last question- 

 

Is there any reason to buy a long USB cable?  Do I need one for the Wii setup?

 

Here is what I plan on buying:  4 IR pens, 1 wii remote, 1 clamp, 1 ceiling drop down pole, 1 bluetooth adapter, 1 rechargable battery & charger, and 1 AC adapter.

 

Thanks for your advice,

Patti

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Well, yes and no.

When it comes to the hardware, the Wiimote is able to read 4 infrared lights at once so, yes, in theory, you can use 4 IR pens at once on a Wiimote whiteboard.

HOWEVER, you can't just use 4 IR pens on a Web site, just like you couldn't just plug 4 mice into your computer and use them all. You need multi-mouse software in order for this to work, and there currently isn't any software out there (at least that I've been able to find). There's a lot of multi-mouse software in the works, though.

As for the other questions, I would recommend building your own pens rather than purchasing them -- it's extremely easy. Yes, you need to get the Wii brand remote. And, no, you don't need a USB cable, as long as you have bluetooth enabled on your computer.

I wrote a blog post a few weeks ago with all the details on building your own Wiimote board, IR pens, and even info on available dual-mouse software. Check it out at Stretch Your Digital Dollar.

However, if you already have a Smartboard, I don't think the Wiimote whiteboard will give you any added functionality -- at this point in time, it's basically the same thing as a Smart or Activboard.
Thanks, Katy.

The only reason I want the Wii Board with my regular Smartboard is to have competitions...like math races, etc. So I really only need maybe 2 pens.No reason to have 4 pens????

I do not know how to solder (how do you spell that word??) so I doubt I can make my own pens. Would you recommend the ones that are pressure sensitive? Does that mean they turn on by pressing the tips? OR do they have switches? I will check yout your blog post. Thanks again, Patti
In that case, I think 2 pens would be plenty.

Yes, pressure sensitive means you just press them down and they write, rather than having to click a button. There are pros and cons to both -- you might try getting one pressure-sensitive pen and one click pen to see which your students prefer.

I found this review of IR pens, from the Electric Educator, that might come in handy: http://electriceducator.blogspot.com/2010/02/ir-pen-product-review-...
I've found these from WunderWorks a while back but I haven't used them ($).

http://www.wunderworks.com/teamplayer/

http://www.wunderworks.com/brainstorm/

The software developer for Smoothboard also says a issue for multimouse is how a particular pen maintains focus with a particular mouse pointer since the connection between the isn't maintained when the IR light is shut off.
I downloaded both and tested them. As I recall, the two mice only work within the pre-made TeamPlayer software, which consists of about 5 games.
I don't know about the 4 pens at once, but I recommend the extra long USB and the replacement battery pack. If your wii mote will be close to your computer, you can just use the usb cord that comes with the replacement battery pack. But I believe penteractive only sells those long cords for situations where you're ceiling mounting, and you want to use the replacement battery pack. I showed a colleague how I use it and he said he'll buy it too because he goes through batteries quickly (and recharging all the time would be a pain). So, this is the product I'm talking about: http://www.amazon.com/Nintendo-Wii-Control-Battery-Charger-1800mAh/...

It is also available from penteractive. Oh, and their pens are not pressure sensitive. They have a button you push on the side. I had my hubby make them though, as it is much cheaper.
If you haven't already, try the wiimoteproject forums. I've purchased from 3 different vendors that I've found on wiimote project with excellent results and at the very least you get great advice from people who develop the software.
Thanks, everyone. I think I will get the extra long USB cable so I won't have to replace batteries. I am sure the kids will enjoy using the Wii remote because of its "cool" factor. You know 4th graders! I can't wait to get this project started. I finally have all my money figured out from previous years. I have been saving it and now have about $125.00 for the wiimote project. For once I do not have to spend my own money!
Hi Patti, remember that one of the big challenges is figuring out how to position the wiimote for the first time. I would recommend positioning the wiimote right by your projector to start off. After you get used to that then try to fine tune your positioning.

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