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The SMART Board

In-wall version of the SMART BoardWhen David Martin and Nancy Knowlton of Calgary started promoting their interactive whiteboard in 1991, the reaction was not encouraging. Twelve years later, however, Martin and Knowlton’s company SMART Technologies has sold over 100,000 units, with sales around $100 million in 2002.

It was in 1986, during a lengthy road trip, that the two Alberta-based entrepreneurs came up with the idea for a device that would allow people to collaborate, in real-time, in an electronically shared space. The idea was for a whiteboard, computer and projector all in one. People could control the device from the whiteboard, which would function as a computer monitor and a mouse combined.

The SMART Board in the classroomThere were numerous initial technological hurdles for Martin and Knowlton to overcome in order for the device to be successful. First, it needed to integrate touch technology in order for people to be able to use their finger as a mouse. The board also had to be accurate enough to handle multiple computer applications. Finally, it had to be easy to use, with a simple interface.

With the technical obstacles overcome and the financial investment from computer giant Intel, the SMART Board was produced and made a remarkably successful debut in the marketplace. Numerous improvements have since been made adding features and functions. Currently, the SMART Board customers include corporate giants such as Ford Motor Company, Bell Canada, Proctor & Gamble, as well as research and government institutions including the University of Western Ontario and NASA.

Click here for more information on the SMART Board Interactive Whiteboard.

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