Continuing from my last blog: How exactly can technology be brought into the outdoors in a visible, interactive, portable and educative manner?

The answer is simple.

It’s called the SmartER Board (because it’s smarter than your average smart board and Environmentally Reliable).

This is a product which basically can perform the same functions as a smart board, yet with the benefit of portability and outdoor use. Physically it will be approximately the size of an average TV screen- 40 inches.  This will turn out to be around 100cm wide by 60cm high, or thereabouts, like the screen size seen below.


With nothing of its kind created before, the dimensions of course are flexible.

It will be portable through a handle like feature at the top, so that it can be held in one hand and travel beside the waist, along the horizontal.

The top of the screen will feature a fold up/down visor which will provide some shade along the top of the devise, in an attempt to minimise sun glare, a suggestion mentioned in an earlier post.

The screen itself will comprise of an electronic display, like that of a normal smart board; however will be used in high contrast mode to increase visibility in the outdoors.  In addition, I believe it is not yet possible to combine both electronic ink displays like the Kindle (previously mentioned), and a normal electronic display.  Although, in the future should this functionality become available, later models would incorporate this feature for added usability. Further, imagine if electronic ink displays like the Kindle could be interactive?  This would then allow for teachers to be able to free-hand write and draw things, without the need for colour.  Should colour be required however, by simply switching to an electronic display, the device would replicate that of a normal laptop. For added ease of use, the first model would exhibit a stylus holder at the back of the device, for a stylus to be kept when not in use.

The SmartER Board would have to be battery operated, so that it could function on an oval for a certain amount of time without a power adapter.  To charge, it would have a charging cord and power socket.  The battery in this device would preferably be long lasting and powerful to sustain usage.

The device would not feature waterproofing, as typically if the oval is wet, then class isn’t outdoors.  As this device is designed to be used outdoors, particularly on courts or the oval, I believe waterproofing is unnecessary, as it is hoped common sense would prevail.  However, in order to safeguard the device from any sudden, unforeseen weather changes, it would be water resistant as much as possible.

There would be speakers inbuilt along the bottom of the device.

In order to actually connect a laptop or tablet device, the Smart-ER Board would come with a variety of purchasable auxiliary cables designed for the Apple iPad, Microsoft Surface, or any other common device. Later versions would hopefully feature the ability to wirelessly stream from your device straight to the board, similar to Apple’s ‘AirPlay’.

At the back of the device would be click in/out legs to create a small stand for the board to be held up by.

Of course, as this is a completely new prototype, all construction materials would aim to be as lightweight as possible to increase portability.

For storage, the device could be held in a large zip up case and laid standing upright like a TV at the back of a classroom, office or sports shed.

So that’s it! The blueprint for the SmartER Board.  Tune in next time to hear more.

Until next time,