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Installation Profile: AV Rx

Dec 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By John W. DeWitt

Two labs exemplify the latest technology-driven transformations in the world of healthcare education.

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Initially, McGrady envisioned using multiple projectors to support large-group to small-group instruction in the multi-disciplinary lab, which is the larger and more complex of the two laboratories. However, upon further discussion with AVI-SPL, NEOUCOM opted to install 14 digital smartboards with built-in projectors. After vendor evaluations, 3M Digital Wall Displays Plus Series 9200ICs were chosen for installation around the room. Each wall display can be controlled centrally in large-, medium-, or small-group configurations; or they can be controlled individually as a single display using its own dedicated computer or from a laptop computer or a DVD/VCR player/recorder.

Instructors can reconfigure and control the room using a variety of intuitive controls. Central control is provided by a 15in. Elo TouchSystems IntelliTouch touchpanel with an AMX TPI/4 touchpanel interface. Four additional 7in. AMX NXD-CV7 Modero touchpanels are located around the room for use when the lab is divided in half or in quarters. An AMX eight-button MIO keypad provides control when each of the 14 wall displays are being used individually. The control interfaces are familiar to instructors because they are similar to ones used in the other classroom AV systems previously implemented by AVI-SPL.

“The touchpanels are very dynamic and allow the instructor to configure this on the fly,” says Hanley, who developed a logical flow chart for each possible room scenario and then wrote nearly 14,000 lines of custom code — a month's worth of work — for the control system. “They don't have to shut down the system to reconfigure the room; they just use a wizard screen. The wizard remembers their settings and makes the adjustments accordingly. The whole design was for ease of use for the instructor,” Hanley says.

A Sony BRC300 pan-tilt-zoom camera captures the instructor, presenting him or her side by side or picture in picture with other content — such as a presentation, a video, or an image from the lab's Elmo HV-8000SX digital document camera — on the display. The Elmo camera, Santoro says, is the modern, more flexible version of the classic overhead projector; it can display X-ray films, transparencies, 3D objects, and hard copies.

Audio is captured via two Audio-Technica U857Q gooseneck podium microphones at the central instructor's station, as well as by five Shure ULXS124/85 wireless microphone systems with lapel and handheld mics that are dedicated for use when the room is broken down in half or in quarters. Around the room, a total of 32 JBL Control 26CT 70V loudspeakers are recessed into the ceiling; these are powered by two Crown Audio CTs 1200 audio amplifiers. As with video, audio control is broken down according to the room's configuration.

The classroom even supports traditional writing on the whiteboard, and information displayed on the 3M wall displays can be annotated by instructors and students manually with digital markers. Each room quadrant also has a Smart Technologies Sympodium, an interactive, touch-sensitive pen display that allows instructors to digitally mark on any computer-generated graphical content. Instructors also have the ability, using the touchscreen control, to record and publish streaming .mpeg files containing their lectures and any other classroom instructional content that appears on the displays using Sonic Foundry's Mediasite live recorder. Students can view this content later, review the class sessions, or attend class virtually by logging into the school's online learning content system.

Behind the sophisticated yet user-friendly controls, all routing, switching, and sound mixing for the multi-disciplinary lab's RGB HV, S-Video, and audio are handled via an Extron CrossPoint 450 Plus 2424 HVA switch, an Extron MAV Plus 24×24 SVA switch, and a Polycom Voice-Vortex EF2280 auto mic/line mixer and DSP. Signal processing is handled via AMX NI-4100 NetLinx control system processor in conjunction with other control modules such as RS-232 volume control.

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