Epson America (Long Beach, CA) has announced the upcoming availability of a product that will enable interactivity in any projector. I find the product interesting but even more intriguing, is the concept that underlies the product.
Insight Media Consultant
The product is the IU-01 interactive module. The company’s press release calls the IU-01 an "innovative, cost-effective classroom tool." The module connects directly to a Windows or Mac based computer via USB and "provides an easy solution for integrating interactive capabilities with any new or existing projector while eliminating the need to purchase and install dedicated interactive whiteboards."
The IU-01 can be used on any existing whiteboard, wall or other smooth, light-colored, hard surface. It provides a useable interactive area up to a 96-inch diagonal with WXGA resolution or 102-inch diagonal with XGA resolution.
Epson says that the system is mounted to a wall with only a few simple steps. The box includes two interactive pens with rechargeable batteries and charger. The system will also come with TeamBoard Draw annotation software. This software can be used to create, capture and share lessons.
The Epson IU-01 Interactive Module will be available starting October 2010 and sell for $599.
How does it work? Well, Epson already offers an interactive projector based on 3LCD technology. It is the model BrightLink 450Wi. I called the company and learned that the interactive pen includes an IR LED. A CMOS camera in the projector, located just below the lens, detects the position of the IR spot.
Apparently, Epson has removed the interactive parts from the projector and used them as the basis of a new, stand alone product. The software must have been adjusted to calibrate for the different relationship between the camera and the projected image.
What I find so interesting is the idea of a single feature or capability being separated from an existing product, packaged and sold as a separate product. The stand alone IU-01 can be sold widely and thus provide the company with an enhanced business opportunity for the interactive capability.
I can think of any number of common electronic consumer products that were created by combining two or more initially stand alone products. One example that comes to mind is a clock radio with a CD player. As I sit here and write this Display Daily, I can’t seem to think of an example of an existing consumer electronic product that was subsequently decomposed into sub-products one of which was then sold stand alone. Can you? If so, let me know. We may be surrounded by untapped business opportunities. -Arthur Berman