College of Engineering built Lightboard

Today Matthew and I dropped in to see the launch of a Lightboard built by a group of undergraduate electrical students from the College of Engineering.

“A lightboard is a glass chalkboard pumped full of light. It’s for recording video lecture topics, you face towards your viewers, and your writing glows in front of you” – Michael Peshkin, lightboard.infor

The challenge of building the Lightboard came about as a request from Swansea City Council who were looking at ways to better engage their staff with information and training. Over the course of approximately 3 months Dr Karin EnnserDr Richard Cobley and their students built what can be seen in the images and video below.

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Image above shows Lightboard, black background screen, lighting, camera in foreground and monitor on right side showing the “projected” image. (click image to view larger version)

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Image above shows the ‘projected’ image, this is what would be recorded and can be edited later to add further information. (click image to view larger version)

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Image above shows a close up of the Lightboard with annotations. (click image to view larger version)

Click the following link to view the Swansea built Lightboard test video http://youtu.be/vpVX-FXdK18

As you can see from the images and videos the lecturer appears to be stood writing, equations or illustrations that are written on a high-transparency pane of glass. With the correct lighting the glass cannot be seen but the annotations glow under separate LED lighting. Powerpoint slides can be overlaid and appear in one of the corners. The board itself cost around £2500-3000 to build  and the version built at Swansea includes hydraulic lifting which allows the board to be raised and lowered to facilitate usage by users in wheelchairs.

Unfortunately this Lightboard will be leaving Engineering for its home with Swansea Council, but we can see many potential benefits of something like this here at Swansea, with a range of disciplines being able to make use of it. It is also timely as it ties in with PVC Martin Stringers most recent blog post which discusses the challenges for Swansea University and its ambitions for growth which could be achieved by utilising appropriate technology in certain areas.

What next?

The College already have another suitable pane of glass and the expertise from building its first iteration. All it needs is some funding to start building another…….

Have you used, seen a Lightboard before? Would it be a useful tool within your subject specialism? If so please leave comments below…

Simon

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