Taking notes in the classroom can be tough whether you are sighted or have low vision. Between listening to the teacher, looking at the board and copying down notes, it can be difficult to keep track of what you are writing, how it relates to the class and what exactly it means.
One team of students from a research in lab at Arizona State University has created a portable device featuring a camera that is able to capture images taken from the board and works through a USB cable connected to a tablet. Working with pen and multi-touch technology, the NoteTaker was designed to help students with low vision take notes at the same rate as their sighted peers.
This portable device, called the Note-Taker, was the prize winning entry at the Windows Imagine Cup. Created out of a need to create an easier method to keep up in class, the NoteTaker was enough to win it all.
Attached to the camera is a gesture controlled pan-tilt zoom camera, that allows the user to view the board live while also being able to zoom in or reposition if necessary, eliminating the need to continually look up and down. Working with a Windows Tablet PC, the camera’s feed goes back to the tablet in a split screen interface. On half of the screen, there is a notepad for taking notes by hand, if you are able to do so, and the other half is a screen that streams activity at the front of the classroom live.
To control where the camera is positioned, just tap on any part of the image and the camera will center on it. Currently, in its early stages of development, the portable camera device does not work with the iPad because the interface is not compatible, but the team is working on it. They are also working on getting the produce out to the public. Still in the development stages, they are working out the kinks and engaging in a series of user studies.
The Note-Taker records the video and audio at once, making it easy to go back and review if you miss something the teachers says, you were falling behind or you fell asleep in class…
To watch a video that demonstrates how the Note-Taker works, click here!