Widescreen Whiteboard

Aug. 24, 2004
A custom-designed SMART Board™ interactive whiteboard is facilitating research into virtual rear projection (VRP), a breakthrough in front-projection technology, at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). This interactive whiteboard is 17.11 feet (5.2 m) wide and 4.8 feet (1.46 m) high, and incorporates DviT™ technology, SMART’s proprietary touch technology. Discussions between David Martin, SMART’s chairman and co-CEO, and VRP researchers at Georgia Tech led to SMART’s involvement in the project and confirmed that DViT technology was critical to developing an interactive whiteboard large enough and sophisticated enough to meet Georgia Tech’s needs.The large display is made up of three SMART Board interactive whiteboards, each about 6 feet (1.83 m) wide, which incorporate DViT technology and are not separated by bezels. Digital cameras in the corners of each of the three interactive whiteboards scan the display, as well as the adjacent display, to detect the presence of a finger, pen or stylus and provide truly seamless touch sensitivity across the entire display. The VRP system uses multiple projectors whose images overlap to produce one shadow-free image even with multiple, moving users. The VRP research is directed by associate professors James Rehg and Gregory Abowd of the College of Computing and GVU Center at Georgia Tech. Jay Summet and Matt Flagg, Ph.D. candidates in the College of Computing, are leading the research and development efforts.“We custom designed the SMART Board interactive whiteboard at Georgia Tech to incorporate DViT technology in a groundbreaking research project,” says David Martin, chairman and co-CEO of SMART. “While this unique SMART Board interactive whiteboard will not be available commercially, our role in the Georgia Tech project  represents our commitment to the research community and to facilitating technology advancements that benefit our customers and industry.”“Rear projection of large-scale upright displays is sometimes preferred over front projection because of the elimination of shadows that occlude the projected image,” says Gregory Abowd, associate professor, College of Computing, Georgia Tech. “However, rear projection is not always a feasible option for space and cost reasons. Our research shows that many of the desirable features of rear projection, in particular shadow elimination, can be reproduced using new front-projection techniques. The SMART Board interactive whiteboard, which requires users to stand in front of the projected image so they can interact with it, has helped us design a system that addresses technical issues as well as develop solutions in accordance with user behavior. We had been looking for an interactive display solution for this research project and had been unable to find anything suitable until SMART worked out this solution for us.”About DViT technologyDigital Vision Touch (DViT) technology enhances the image quality, accuracy and scalability of touch-sensitive displays. DViT technology uses proprietary digital cameras and sophisticated software to determine the contact of a finger, stylus, pointer or other object. Cameras, situated in the frame around the display, communicate position information back to a digital signal processor that determines the exact point of contact. No special tools or materials on the touch screen are required, making the display easy to use and the image crystal clear. In March 2003, SMART launched DViT technology, integrating the breakthrough technology into its Rear Projection SMART Board interactive whiteboard and SMART Board for Flat-Panel Displays interactive overlays. Multiple U.S. and foreign patents for DViT technology are pending.About SMARTSMART Technologies Inc. is both the industry pioneer and global market leader in easy-to-use interactive whiteboards and other group collaboration tools. SMART products include the family of award-winning SMART Board™ interactive whiteboards, as well as interactive lecterns, multimedia furniture and software. Using SMART products, groups can access and share the information they need to meet, teach, train and present. SMART has been issued and maintains a broad portfolio of patents with numerous US, Canadian and other foreign patents pending. SMART customers include NASA, Texas Instruments, BMW, Fujitsu, DaimlerChrysler, Boeing, Lucent Technologies, NTT, Los Angeles Lakers, Novartis, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Accenture, Procter & Gamble, British Telecom, Disney Imagineering and Harvard University.Anju Visen-SinghSMART Technologies Inc.www.smarttech.com

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