Monday, November 17, 2014

Large Touch Screen Technology

I knew it was going to happen... in fact this post sort of let it out of the bag a little early.

With prices around $7000 all up for the bigger ones and the $5000 mark for the smaller ones (55") many schools are looking at this as their next display tool. It looks like touch screen technology is now on par for installation and trolley based IWB systems from 5 years ago with a couple of added advantages.

  1. Multi touch - these touch screens come in 2, 6, and 32 touch modes.
  2. Super bright - these can be used in very bright shared use area or undercover areas. - Glare and reflection is still and issue.
  3. No shadow - as the light source is behind the image.
  4. No lamps to replace and with most of them having expected lifetimes of over 10 years a very good TCO.
  5. Multi use - the touch screen can be just a TV for Free to air or cable content.
OK so this is the future of the hardware going into schools, I have installed  32 x 60" and 70" screens into a brand new school and more to come as some schools start to cycle out their IWB's for touch screens.

I have to say though, the touch projector from Epson  (EB595Wi) is maybe stemming the flow to touch screens as it is still a lot cheaper  at about 1/2 the price .

So what are the implications...

Software - Most software for PC and Mac is not multi touch enabled. There are a few like Google earth, but at this stage there is not much out there for content or content creation for multi-touch computing. We will see this change and there are some great multi touch demos from the old Microsoft surface project.

With Windows 8, multi touch is baked right into the operating system and many applications now support multiple touch natively.

I have come across Intuiface  which has a lot of promise as far as content creation goes. They have a free version that has a small watermark, but it is easy to use. Very much like PowerPoint with some extra muscle.

Others like snowflake are very expensive and hard to get your head around.

It's worse for Apple Mac computers that have no multi-touch embedded into the operating system and must rely on TUIO interface connectors. Hopefully Apple will come out with some form of multi-touch for their Macbook range soon. And as many of us lament - ipads have no USB interface so no dice there.


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Raymond said...

Thanks for this! It seems a fair and balanced look at the new tech. As you say, a lot of schools are looking towards these multi-touch screens as a next step. Whiteboard technology has totally transformed the classroom—couldn't exactly play videos on the old chalkboard! Anything that keeps the kids engaged and learning has to be a big plus.

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