Ever tried to catch some rays while studying or assignment-ing on your laptop out in the nice, warm Queensland sunlight?  Chances are you were a) potentially blinded by the sun, or b) not even studying at all because you could no longer see your screen.

Now if we’re going to try and look at a solution to bringing indoor classroom technology out onto the oval, there are evidently a few environmental factors that we might have to consider first.

To date and from my research it seems there is yet to be a portable, outdoor-friendly computer system or similar smart board device, which can be viewed by the whole PE class when outdoors. To address the issue of computers outside, there are a few solutions which have been proposed…

On the website PC World, I found a page titled ‘How to Work Outdoors’. Below are a few of author Christopher Null’s suggestions:

  • Utilise a portable, folding shade visor for computers like this one below, for example:

shade

  • Purchasing from the small laptop market of “indoor/outdoor” displays
  • Increasing screen contrast on devices

and possibly,

  • Investing in an electronic ink device such as Amazon’s ‘Kindle’ (see below)

kindle

The website Gigamon suggested:

  • Working in the shade under an umbrella or awning
  • Wearing polarised sunglasses
  • Fixing an anti-glare screen on your device
  • Utilising a laptop sunshade, similar to the one mentioned above,

and finally my favourite…

  • Give up, have a beer, and decide that the summer sun is more important than work.

All of these ideas are fairly practical and inexpensive.  However, in considering a solution for outdoor technology I think there is the potential for a combination of these ideas.  A deice which utilises a brim/shade like structure, with a high contrast screen could potentially work. What’s more, imagine if the deice had the functionality to switch between a high contrast full colour display, and a kindle-like electronic paper display. When photos/ videos are needed, the screen could function in full colour.  If utilising the drawing functionality on the electronic board like it were a whiteboard, a kindle display would be effective for this time.

Now, latest technology to incorporate projection on a laptop/tablet device is the Yoga Tablet Pro 2 with built in projector.  An article about this device can be seen here. Basically, the article explains Lenovo have created tablet with a built in projector, reportedly to target uses who view media, watch videos and play games on their tablet devices.  Essentially, it’s reported the device has transformed from a tablet with TV capabilities, to a full home theatre projection experience, equipped with its own sound system and subwoofer.  Suggested uses of the tablet include projecting at business meetings, for example, providing handy, on-the-go functionality.  While this device certainly has its benefits, it still would be unable to function outdoors due to environmental factors such as brightness. Check out the device below.

1413159941645

Looking across contexts briefly to the similar and related field of of outdoor education, it’s apparent technology has been utilised in a number of ways. This has been namely through mobile apps, GPS units, digital cameras, and digital weather stations among others, according to ex-outdoor educator and technology teacher Jackie Gerstein. While these technologies can enhance outdoor experiences in specific ways such as tracking locations, geo tagging, increasing safety, and documenting and learning about the environment for example, it’s evident that there are still issues with outdoor electronics and computing, as previously discussed. The product I hope to develop aims to cater to this niche in the market, though how exactly will I achieve this?

Better tune in next week to find out…

Sporter.

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