Epson upgrades the whiteboard with interactive projector

It’s hard to beat a whiteboard for an office brainstorming session – the satisfaction of streaking a technicolour diagram in washable marker across a gleaming white surface can’t be topped.

Unless Epson has something to say about it. The hardware manufacturer best known for its printers has a new idea about how in-office collaboration should work. The BrightLink 450Wi brings the whiteboard into the digital age with interactive pens that can scribble overtop of PowerPoint slides, Web sites, or anything else you could display on a computer monitor. The resulting mash-up can then be saved to file and shared amongst meeting contributors.

Available in Canada since April, the interactive projector could offer businesses that are partial to brainstorming sessions a few benefits. The cost of one unit is actually less than a combined purchase of a whiteboard and a standard projector, and when the presentation is over there’s no mess to clean up. Epson offers the unit installed as a permanent fixture, or mounted to a mobile dolly that can be carted from room to room.

Watching Judy Burns, account manager of projection products at Epson, demonstrate the BrightLink, it was easy to forget that her pen strokes were digital pixels and not washable ink left by a felt tip. The projector’s response to the pen movements where immediate and exact. Built-in software provides a wide array of tools to use for annotation – a similar set to many digital art programs.

Epson says the projector has enjoyed a great response amongst school boards and businesses in Canada. Even if you don’t think an interactive projector is the right fit for your meeting space, you have to admit it looks like fun to use.

Brian Jackson is a Senior Writer at ITBusiness.ca. Follow him on Twitter, read his blog, and check out the IT Business Facebook Page.

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