[AG-TECH] SmartBoard + Screens?

Allan Spale aspale at evl.uic.edu
Tue Aug 28 14:08:57 CDT 2001

EVL uses plasma screens instead of projectors in our AG setup.  It is true
that the frame around the screen does take away from having one large
"logical seemless" display.  However, this is not determental, and as of
now, we are planning to retain this design.

As far as arrangement of screens, we are experimenting with trying a 2x2
mini-matrix of displays instead of the 3x1 typical setup.  We only have 3
displays right now, but having the displays in a more compact arrangement
seems favorable.

EVL might have a SmartBoard plasma (the name and description of the item
seems very familiar), and we have considered using some sort of whiteboard
software (WBD, from University College London; the same place that created
VIC, RAT, etc.) with the plasma screens.  We have tried WBD with some sort
of "touch-screen" plasma, and it seemed to work well enough.  If you would
be interested in an EVL contact on this matter, let me know. 


On Tue, 28 Aug 2001, David E. Bernholdt wrote:

> In the conference room we're building, we don't have a huge amount of
> space.  In total it is about 14' (front/back wall) x 22' (side walls).
> The room was originally two, and in the middle there are vestiges of
> the original wall in the form of a 20" projection from the side walls
> (think of a ~10' wide dorrway or portal in the middle of the room).
> I'd like to have a 3-projector tiled display for the AG _and_ a
> SmartBoard (interactive whiteboard) that could be used with AG or
> separately.  The "portal" in the middle of the room makes it hard to
> position a whiteboard on a side wall so as to be uniformly visible.
> So I was thinking of a couple of options, and I'd appreciate comments
> on the relative merits of each from those with more experience...
> I could put the SmartBoard and the AG display on the same wall
> (four-across) only if the AG video is pretty small (~ 3' x 2.25'
> each). Advantage: the AG display would be uninterrupted.
> Disadvantage: it would be pretty small.
> If I made the SmartBoard _part_ of the AG screen, it could be 4'x3'
> per image.  The disadvantages I see are (1) since the SmartBoard has a
> small bezel around it, there is no way to avoid a small break in the
> continuity of the screen, and (2) I don't know how closely I can match
> the optical properties of the SmartBoard in the rest of the screen.  I
> think I can partially counter the first problem by arranging for the
> screen edge to overlap the SmartBoard bezel, but there will still be a
> small visual "glitch".  The wall is not completely flat, so we're
> going to have to engineer a screen surface anyway (can't just paste on
> WallTalkers stuff).
> I thought about other approaches, like trying to build/buy a large
> screen that would hang just in front of the SmartBoard, but that would
> (1) prevent use of the SmartBoard with the AG, and (2) give two
> different focal plans for the projector associated with the
> SmartBoard.  The latter problem would require an additional projector
> or refocusing to switch back and forth.  It seems like zoom functions
> are usually available on projector remotes, but not focus, so this
> would quickly become tedious for ceiling-mounted projectors.
> I don't know how important display size and continuity are to AG
> users, or how to balance one against the other. Feedback and
> suggestions welcome. Thanks!
> --
> David E. Bernholdt                   |   Email: bernholdtde at ornl.gov 
> Oak Ridge National Laboratory        |   Phone: +1 (865) 574 3147    
> http://www.csm.ornl.gov/~bernhold/   |   Fax:   +1 (865) 574 0680    

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