Friday, August 14, 2009

eBeam Edge Interactive Whiteboard

I was browsing through the pages of the July edition of Tech and Learning and saw a new product from Luidia: the eBeam Edge. This product promises to turn any projected image into an interactive whiteboard. This is a novel concept as it removes the cumbersome presence of a large fixed physical component. It's a bit cheaper than the traditional whiteboards, coming in at $899.

I read the description in Tech and Learning and then browsed the Luidia website and couldn't help but laugh-- I can create the exact same setup using a Nintendo Wii controller and an IR pen for less than $100! While I'm sure the eBeam Edge software and hardware works very well, why spend hundreds of dollars reproducing what the creative open source community has given us?

Johnny Chung Lee came up with the original prototype for the "wiiboard" in early 2007. I stumbled upon it in the summer of 2008 and used my Wiiboard throughout the school year. It's a fairly simple setup that has been significantly improved since Chung's original iteration. To learn how to set up your own interactive whiteboard for less than $100 using a Nintendo Wii controller, see these previous posts:

What can a Wiiboard do for me?
Wiiboard Software
Setting up a Wiiboard
IR Pen Review


  1. While I appreciate how innovative the Wii solution is for working with an interactive surface. What you don't realize is that the hardware is far more robust than a Wii controller which does not account for surrounding environmental issues i.e. motion sensors. In addition, the software that comes with the Edge, or for that matter, and Interactive Whiteboard solution is far superior to what comes with the Wii controller, which is nothing. If you would like a demonstration of how the Edge actually works, I could arrange that for you.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Neal. I am not trying to imply that the eBeam is a bad product. I don't think so at all. In fact, as I mentioned, the eBeam is unique amongst Interactive Whiteboards because it doesn't have a large hardware footprint. My only point was that teachers with low or no technology budget can create something similar using a Wii controller.

    I'd be happy to try out the eBeam in my classroom. I don't have any money to purchase one, but am happy to test it out for you!

  3. I have an eBeam, and I love it. I do not know the Wii IWB therefor I can't comment.
    I Just bought an IR pen and a Wii remote to do a test. I will let you know. Thanks for this interesting blog. :)

  4. No worries at all. My job is to educate everyone on the advantages of a full solution. I totally agree that a "low-tech" teacher does not necessarily benefit from all of the IWB software, which is exactly why our solution even works with dry erase markers to capture everything that it written on a board. Send me an email and I can have the Central US Representative get in touch with you.

    We always appreciate a fresh prospective on the good and bad of our product. That's the only way we can grow!



  5. John, have you seen Smoothboard 1.6? the connection system is VERY easy.

    I have tried all three versions of the wii whiteboard, and love it because students can copy it and make their own whiteboard... learning electronics, and improving computer abilities at the same time. They learn to be producers instead of mere consumers.

    As far as software with the wii... apart from the free versions of Promethium and Smartboard, there is so much "free" software: the starter version of artrage, inkscape, inkseine... and the outside the box toggles of smoothboard are pretty powerful time saving class tools. What do you use, John?

    I agree that the ebeam is a good whiteboard, and that it is not a waste of money if the teachers use it, but to begin

  6. Saw your twitter status, and wanted to say...
    sorry to leave you hanging there, for some reason not all of the comment came through.

    Anyways, I figure the only thing with the wii is that you had to be a little tech oriented, but with the new system I get excited because it is easy as long as you have a MS bluetooth stack. And the ebeam is still more pricy and in Spain, where I am based, budgets are only allowing for one or two IWBs whereas the wii would give a chance for everyone to have a turn with it and learn how to effectively use them.

    Even if there was more of a budget, I think a lot of that extra money could be more effectively used training teachers. Anyways... hope things are better with your wife, I am housedadding my 11 month old at the moment.


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