Wiimote Whiteboard - Looking back at 3 months

On January 27, my friend Lucas sent me a link to Johnny Lee’s head-tracking video on YouTube. I thought it was really cool what could be done with the Wiimote. I had no idea that it contains such a powerful camera and even does image processing. I checked out Johnny’s other projects and found the Whiteboard to be the most immediately useful. While the head-tracking is probably more impressive (I actually haven’t seen it in person), it wasn’t really that “accessible” to me. I could’ve ported the head-tracking demo to the Mac and had fun with it for a while. But eventually it would have become boring and making an actual game that uses head-tracking isn’t possible for me. Some game companies luckily picked up head-tracking very fast (EA’s Boom Blox to include Wiimote Headtracking).

I tried running Johnny’s demos on my parents’ Windows machines, since I’m running OS X on my MacBook, but couldn’t get them to work. So I decided to give it a shot on my Mac. I found WiiRemoteJ, which made it very easy for me to get started as a Java programmer. Soon, I had a “clone” of Johnny’s Wiimote Whiteboard software in about 400 lines of code. I decided to release it so that other Mac users could play with it as well. I actually have no real use for the application. I’m neither a teacher nor an artist, I just like to play with technology. And it makes me happy when my software is used by others, especially for purposes like the education of children.

Since the first release, I’ve been blown away by the reactions to my software. I never expected that much feedback and usage. It kept me motivated to successively enhance the software by adding features while trying to keep it easy to use.

Statistics for the last three months

February 08 March 08 April 08
Pageviews (of Wiimote Whiteboard) 2769 4020 7252
Application starts1 1747 4449 8139
Download: Cross-platform version 515 504 1212
Download: Mac version 285 787 1273
Download: Sourcecode 126 225 370

  1. The application accesses a tiny file on this webserver to check for updates at startup. This only happens if update-notification is enabled and a connection to the Internet exists. The number of applications starts in the table is hence a lower bound on the number of actual starts.