The whiteboard is common tool used for many things, including designing and brainstorming. Usually, whiteboards have limited space. When we (designers) do our brainstorms on the whiteboard, space tends to run out, and we have to eliminate brainstorm ideas so that we have more space to input and draw our ideas. The elimination process decreases the effectiveness of brainstorming. We want to record all of our brainstorm ideas and save them for later evaluation, but the whiteboard can only provide so much space.

Step 1: The Overall Design

So, I've encountered this problem multiple times with my whiteboard, so I switched to paper to brainstorm and design a solution to this problem. So here are the basic aspects of my solution:
  • distance/sonar sensor placed on corner of whiteboard
  • sensor device sends data to computer
  • computer program uses data to draw out whiteboard image on computer
Basically, the distance/sonar sensor is placed on the corner and detects the distance from a marker and traces the marker's movements. The sensor device then sends the marker's movements to a computer. A computer program will receive these movement data and draw it out on a blank page in the computer.

Step 2: Sensor, Marker, and Computer

The marker is the tracked object. The sensor is coded so that it only collects movement data when the marker is a certain distance away from the whiteboard. This is meant to prevent things not actually drawn on the whiteboard to be drawn on the blank page on the computer. The sensor device contains two sensors--one for the x-direction and one for the y-direction. Two sensors are used to improve accuracy in the computer-produced image. The computer then uses the x and y direction the calculate the position of the marker and place a dot on the computer-produced image. When the marker is not touching the board, the sensor device will not send any data to the computer and there will be no further additions to the computer-produced image.

The sensor device can be placed on any corner in order to create a point of origin. This allows the computer program to be coded more easily, as the computer-produced image positioning can be determined using a point of origin and x-y coordinates. The sensor devices sticks to the whiteboard edge through a suction cup to keep the sensor device sturdy in place.

Step 3: Conclusion

This design is suitable for a designer and fits for rooms that have whiteboards, such as lecture rooms, workrooms, or conference rooms. Whiteboards are a common tool that designers use to put in their brainstorm ideas, and this sensor device and the computer program allows the brainstorm ideas to be saved into the computer as a computer-produced image or video. This also avoids the hassle of taking pictures of the whiteboard, uploading it to the computer, and finding out that it is low to medium quality. A computer-produced image has a much higher quality and can even be edited. For instance, you could use an image-editing program to straighten out lines to make the brainstorm designs clearer and easier to understand. The main purpose of this sensor device and computer program is to improve the brainstorming part of the design process.
<p>So...does it work? Have you built this at all?</p>