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Technology Showcase: Interactive Whiteboards

Sep 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Jay Ankeney

New whiteboard technologies allow presenters to take charge of the information flow.

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Egan Visual TeamBoard IR

Egan Visual TeamBoard IR

So here is a look at some of the most interesting interactive whiteboards that are starting to grace the halls of corporate America.

When combined with a projection system and a computer, the new 3M Digital Board provides a highly durable porcelain-enamel-over-steel writing surface (the DB565 is 65in. diagonal and the DB578 is 78in. diagonal) from which the content can be printed, emailed, edited, and saved in a variety of well-known formats — including WBD, PDF, BMP, JPG, TIF, PPT, EMF, and PPS. You can even annotate over projected applications. Although dry-erase markers can be used, the 3M Digital Board's multifunction ergonomic digital-presentation pen lets you choose from customizable tool palettes, and it is compatible with handwriting recognition. With each Digital Board, 3M gives you access to an image gallery loaded with more than 2,700 images to use as visual study aids to enhance learning. The 3M Digital Board can be connected to a PC via a USB cable, and it is both Windows and Mac compatible.

ACCO Brands is the leading manufacturer of dry-erase boards in the world. But stepping into 21st-century technology, the Quartet IdeaShare Board from ACCO is a premium porcelain interactive whiteboard that is fully integrated with eBeam electronic imaging technology licensed from Luidia. Notes and images from the Quartet IdeaShare Board can be saved to a PC or Mac, beamed to any PDA handheld device with Palm OS, directly printed with the touch of a button, or shared live over the Internet or corporate intranet. The Quartet IdeaShare Board features a graphite frame with accessory tray, electronic pens, dry-erase markers, electronic and standard erasers, stylus (for wireless mouse use), software, batteries, power supply, and USB cable. Free webconferencing is enabled by ACCO Brands with included software for seamless network sharing from the Quartet IdeaShare Board.

Fifteen permanent keys in the action bar on the Dukane 77S LeaderBoard give presenters quick access to files, annotations, and presentation tools just by touching the board with their finger. Even mouse control is accomplished by a simple touch, letting the presenter stay in front of the board during the whole lecture without having to wrestle with a laptop. The 77S LeaderBoard can also use dry-erase markers on its pressure-sensitive matte-finish surface, with their color being chosen by selecting one of the dedicated soft keys at the bottom of the board. This 57.5"×44.5" interactive whiteboard from Dukane comes with RS-232 and USB connectors for easy setup.

Combining state-of-the-art infrared sensing technology with an EVS dry-erase presentation surface, the 110in. TeamBoard IR from Egan Visual is called the world's largest touchscreen. With its low-glare EVS surface, even permanent marker is easy to erase if used by mistake. Unlike most other sensor technologies, Egan's infrared-based design does not use triangulation to track movement. Instead, thousands of LED lights housed in the frame of the board create a grid that more accurately responds to the touch of the presenter's finger. And to get away from a proprietary toolbar, TeamBoard's action bar allows the user to control all software features with the touch of a finger. TeamBoard IR is set up to display a 16:9 presentation without cropping, and the TeamBoard's unique controller was designed to upgrade easily in the field with the TeamBoard still hanging on the wall.

The Interwrite Board from einstruction uses patented electromagnetic digitizing technology that delivers high-resolution sensing (1000 lines per inch), providing superior performance for fine annotations and handwriting recognition. Coming this December, einstruction will give its boards the ability to take input from multiple participants using Interwrite Pad presentation tools. To eliminate wired connectivity, Bluetooth technology is available as either a PCMCIA card or a USB dongle. Programmable softkeys simplify usage of the Interwrite Board by providing instant access in launching a favorite application, Internet site, or file. Rechargeable interactive pens provide full mouse capability (left- and right-click, drag-and-drop, etc.) when using the Interwrite Board. Einstruction's easy-to-use Interwrite Workspace software is included for free, giving you access to an extensive digital library of images, simulations, and lessons — along with more than 50 annotation tools.

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