Question: I am looking for alternative ways to control one’s personal computer and I am considering with interactive whiteboards (e.g. smart board or the cheaper e-beam setup with their mouse driver). By projecting the desktop image of your pc (via a projector aka beamer) a huge desktop is displayed. With a smart board (touch screen) one can use one’s fingers like a mouse i.e. clicking and dragging can be done by touching the projected desktop. With the e-beam setup one can use a cordless pen as a pointing device. Another pointing devices option is e.g. a cordless gyro mouse. The keyboard function can be filled in by: a (wireless) keyboard in front of the projection screen, an onscreen keyboard (several are available and one is included in win2k), speech recognition, or character recognition (like in PDA’s). I suspect/hope that these setups are less harmful for the arm (due to the bigger movements) and by switching from sitting to standing the position, the body is better off (compared to only sitting). I am also interested in touch screens/pads, mouse pen, light pens, speech recognition and character recognition. Are there people that have experiences with or comments on these alternative means?
Answer 1: I’ve been using a Wacom cordless graphics tablet for the last 10 years, & I have never had any problems with RSI, I only get problems when I have to use a mouse on my other PC.
Answer 2: You might try looking at the Mimio which is much cheaper than the smart boards about £350 (you do need a projector). I don’t really think that controlling the computer in this way will help much with RSI as holding your arm out is likely to cause just as many problems.
Answer 3: Thanks for your reaction. The mimio seems like a brother of the e-beam device which is also much cheaper than the smart boards (although there are more boards popping up by searching the net). I can imagine that drawing on a whiteboard all day long is not the final solution. Switching positions (stand up working with a board, sitting behind a traditional desk, using an LCD tablet (vertical like a touch screen and horizontal like writing on a piece of paper) might give better results. I am curious about other’s experiences or opinions. Although curiosity killed the cat I am still trying to get rid of my pc mouse.
Answer 4: Recently I got an abeam device (but you can’t beam your mother in law away with it (yet)) with a way too old projector (640×480) but I am working on borrowing/hiring a better beamer. So far surfing the net with it goes fine but my real goal is programming with a “modern” clickable big idea. BTW the free Philips voice surf thingy does a nice job too. This week I will get a wacom tablet and I will let you know the results.