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.
The Panasonic UB-8325 Interactive Panaboard comes with two non-glare panels, each of them capable of being scanned or printed independently when used in Whiteboard mode. With infrared and ultrasonic sensors, the UB-8325 can also be used in Panaboard mode to record anything written on the board into a computer. This mode also captures images put on the board by a digital projector into the presenter's computer file. Finally, the Panaboard's intriguing Movie mode captures the marks put on the board as they are being made and plays them back in subsequent meetings as a moving-video file. Panasonic Panaboard software even has handwriting-recognition capability, able to interpret either block or cursive letters into computer-stored digital fonts. Panasonic's latest whiteboard offering, the UB-T780, just released last May, provides a single widescreen 77in. writing surface that comes without an onboard printer and is designed specifically for presentations using either a Windows or Macintosh software driver.
The M-115 is the latest addition to the Plus Vision copyboard line. It features four writing screens, a built-in projection screen, and an optional onboard printer with color-printing capabilities. Plus Vision's M-Series electronic copyboards provide users the choice of printing out notes written on the copyboard, saving a digital copy to portable flash memory, or transferring files directly to their computers via USB. The functions of the M-115 can be controlled and customized though a direct PC connection by using the bundled software and the presenter can print the contents of the board in color or black and white using standard (compatible) inkjet or laser printers.
The M-115 uses a new LED light system for low power consumption. Plus Vision also offers a unique CaptureBoard with a writeable matte-screen surface. All of the presenters' notes and comments, along with the original projected image, can be saved to their computer by simply scanning it. This gives the Plus CaptureBoard an almost-zero learning curve. Simply write, scan, and save. The Plus CaptureBoard can easily be transported from room to room thanks to its ease of onscreen calibration.
The PolyVision Walk-and-Talk Lightning Interactive Whiteboard boasts PolyVision's P3 ceramicsteel surface and the company claims that these are the only calibration-free interactive whiteboards in the industry. Just add a projector to get access to an interactive touch-sensitive surface that can open webpages, highlight documents, and interact with graphics software simply by using your finger or a stylus. There is no whiteboard-specific application or notebook software to learn, and capturing notes or drawings on the interactive whiteboard is as easy as using a digital camera because you simply press the save button on the remote control and a capture is created on your computer. Thanks to PolyKey technology, the Walk-and-Talk driver is always available at the whiteboard — enabling any user to walk up and use the board. Its durable heavy-gauge, powder-coated aluminum frame combines elegant aesthetics with durability.
Although the company's interactive whiteboards are geared primarily toward the education market, Promethean is finding them being increasingly used in corporate training centers. Just last June, a permanently mounted, fixed version of the Promethean Activboard+2 was added to a mobile version that allows for height adjustment of the screen. Its super-short-throw projector mounted directly on the board minimizes shadowing, and the sound system will keep everyone from the front to the back of the audience tuned in. All Activboard+2 fixed components are provided and serviced by Promethean, ensuring trustworthy service and extended operational use.
The QWB series of interactive whiteboards from Qomo HiteVision uses advanced IR technology to accurately track either a pen or finger on the screen. The company's QWB100WS — a 105in., 16:9 whiteboard — is designed to let you annotate over any application and save your work to storage. The QWB100WS integrates seamlessly with Qomo desktop and portable document cameras, writing tablets, and QClick audience-response system, and it lets the presenter select among three different pens with unlimited color choices. Qomo HiteVision's whiteboards can be efficiently included into a complete conference network.
Representing 56.8 percent of the worldwide whiteboard market as of Q1 2008, Smart Technologies Smart Board interactive whiteboards use both touch-sensitive and camera-based sensing technologies. The Smart Board 600i interactive whiteboard with integrated projector lets you write with digital ink on a touch-sensitive surface. In addition, the Smart Board interactive display frame attaches easily to most commercial plasma displays to make them interactive by combining the high-resolution image quality of a plasma display, the precision of camera-based touch technology, and the simplicity of a pencil tool. It benefits from Magic Pen technology — a three-in-one tool that can be used to spotlight, magnify, or zoom in on an image or write notes that will disappear in 10 seconds. The Smart Recorder can record events on the screen with optional sound and create a video file in AVI or WMV format. For protection, you can even add a watermark to the recording with the timestamp information, date, and logo. As one of the company's most recent developments, the Smart Hub PEbrings together multiple Smart Board interactive displays to create, share, and distribute digital notes without the need for a computer.
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