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The Mother of all Whiteboards

By R. Alan Clanton | published August 7, 2013 |
Thursday Review Editor

Have you ever wondered how convenient it would be to have an interactive blackboard on the wall of your home or office? And by “blackboard,” I mean something the same size as the chalkboards and whiteboards your teachers used in high school and college.

Well, Westinghouse has filled that fantasy niche with an 84 inch whiteboard screen capable of literally hundreds of touch-screen tasks and functions. The new product is named, aptly, Whiteboard, and it comes equipped with Windows 8, a full 4K of Ultra HD resolution, pixel resolution of 3840 x 2160, and Westinghouse’s own app toolbox designed to operate alongside Windows.

For the majority of first-time users, the experience is apparently an eye-opener. If you are proficient with touch screen activities using small, hand held devices, this behemoth can be a shock to your fingers; just imagine an entire wall of your den or bedroom if it were an electronic touch-screen. This wall-sized video tool offers substantially more freedom-of-movement than your smart phone.

And for political buffs who were addicted last year watching analysts like John King operate those enormous interactive Electoral College maps on CNN, this is your dream come true. For the right price, you can have this monster delivered and installed, and then invite your friends over to watch you pretend to be a meteorologist, a political reporter, or Tom Cruise in Minority Report.

When we say the “right price,” we mean roughly $15,000. This is why, at least for the immediate future, this astonishing product will be primarily a tool for corporate training, military, education and high-end instruction venues. But technology prices always eventually come down, and Westinghouse envisions a day when upscale consumers might want this in their home or office.

Using Windows alongside the specially designed applications, you can manage photos and art, improvise hand-drawn diagrams, work with various templates such as charts and graphs, and manipulate dozens of other computer activities (just as you would on your smart phone) with the touch of your fingers. The screen comes equipped with built-in 15 watt speakers, a stand and hardware for wall mounting, and a variety of standard ports: composite video in and out, HDMI, VGA, USB ports and RS-232 Control.

The screen works through the use of tiny infra-red cameras embedded along the outside of the screen, cameras which look inward across the screen’s vast surface. These eyes track your fingers and hands, and enable all movements—dragging, resizing, clicking, stretching, sliding, minimizing, tossing, flinging, etc., only in this case, you don’t get chalk on your hands and clothes.

For the majority of Thursday Review readers, this monster interactive screen is decidedly overpriced, but for now it delivers a glimpse of a future when touch-screen technology is not limited to something you hold in the palm of your hand.