How remiss have I been! In all the time I’ve been writing here, I’ve failed to dedicate a post to one of my favorite pieces of technology: the SMART Board 800 series. Most of the SMART Boards in schools today are part of the 600 series, which feature the same type of touch-interaction (known as resistive technology) as the Palm Pilots of “the pre-iPhone era”. Accurate and simple to manufacture, resistive technology nevertheless has a few key drawbacks. While capacitive technology (the touch technology used in most modern smart phones) serves the small screen quite well, it becomes unreasonably expensive when scaled to whiteboard size. Instead, SMART has developed their proprietary DViT technology as the next evolution of whiteboard-scale touch detection, using a camera in each of the four corners of the board to detect exactly where users’ fingers or pens make contact. Here are eight reasons to make the switch to the 800 series SMART Boards:
- High Accuracy: The most significant impact of the new technology is its incredibly high accuracy. This same system is accurate enough to use on surfaces much larger than the ~85 inch 800 Series. And because it’s completely digital, it doesn’t fade or drift over time. I hardly ever need to realign our 800 Series Board, unless someone moves the projector of course.
- Multi-User: Because the corner-located cameras provide multiple views of the board surface, several people can use the board at once. At the moment, the hardware and software can track up to four users at one time.
- Gesture Support: Tracking multiple targets has a side benefit, too. The SMART Boards support all the built-in gesture functions of both Mac OS X and Windows 7. This means that in Notebook, Meeting Pro and other programs you can use two fingers to shrink, zoom, and rotate pictures and other objects.
- Great Picture: Because the surface doesn’t have to be flexible, SMART was able to add a much higher-quality coating to the board surface. The 800 series looks significantly brighter than the 600 series models. It also shows higher contrast ratios and better color saturation. These are technical ways of saying “better picture”.
- Durability: The surface of the 800 Series boards is hard-coated steel. No more punctures, no more stuck mouse pointers. This is as durable as a screen can be.
- Great Feel: Not only is the surface impervious to youngsters, but the optical coating is also very low friction. This is something that’s difficult to convey in marketing literature, but it is universally remarked by people who’ve used both types of boards: the new boards just feel better, especially when dragging items across the screen.
- Object Recognition: The DViT cameras can distinguish the size of the object along with its location. SMART software uses this to tell the difference between the pens, your finger, the eraser, or a fist. This means one person can write with a pen while the other uses the mouse and another erases. Or you can use your fist as an eraser, without picking the eraser up.
- Integrated: SMART still has the best system integration of any integrated whiteboard manufacturer. With integrated volume control, input selection, and USB switching right in the pen tray, no one makes a system that is simpler to use. From installation and control all the way up to the software stack, no one has a system that works together better.
The 800 Series SMART Boards truly do represent the benchmark in the Integrated Whiteboard market. If you haven’t been introduced to the next evolution of Whiteboards, take a peek at the videos SMART has posted here.