Thursday, November 10, 2005

SMART Boards are Neat-O

They've got a cool toy in the training room here, and I want one. A SMART board is an electronic white board. We had a white board at my last job that could be scanned and printed, but, while I found that to be pretty cool at the time, this blows it out of the water. Various features can vary from board to board, and they can be front or rear projection, but the set-up we have here is a PC connected to a ceiling-mounted projector that projects onto the SMART board, which in turn sends signals back to the PC. The projection is of the PC's desktop, and it is interactive in several different ways. First, you can touch it anywhere to trigger a mouse click, grab and drags things around, and so forth, so you don't have to sit down at the PC to manipulate it in that respect (although your finger isn't quite as pointy as the mouse pointer, so it's not quite as accurate).

Secondly, and most importantly, there are a set of slots across the bottom of it containing 4 coloured markers and an eraser. You can run a drawing surface program and then use these objects to draw on it (signal is sent to PC, which draws it on the screen, and then sends that image back to the projector). The markers are all felt-tipped, so even though they're not doing any actual drawing, they sound and feel like actual white board markers. The eraser is big and has a circular surface, and you just rub it across and the PC wipes that sections of the image away. The surface of the board itself is a bit pixellated when you get up close, so it feels much like drawing on an etch-a-sketch. The SMART board can tell what item you're touching it with because of magnets in the item trays. So, if you feel like confusing someone, you can put the red marker in the blue tray and have it draw blue on the screen. Anyway, it's very fun to use, and I want one. I think they're under $1500, so if anyone feels compelled to buy one for me, go right ahead. :-)


Anonymous a dave said...

i remember when dot got that thing. we got to play with it for a week while they got it set up. we drew penises and stuff on it.

Thursday, November 10, 2005 6:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Travis said...

At SFU we have a number of similar things. They usually rolled around and used as a portable video conferencing device but they were also used in SMART board type mode when in meetings that were not linked with people elsewhere. It's nice, the marker gunk doesn't have to be cleaned up and it doesn't stain like a whiteboard.

Thursday, November 10, 2005 10:23:00 PM  
Anonymous NOS said...

I saw one of those things at NRC, they are indeed the wave of the future.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005 12:48:00 PM  

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