This week’s Gadget of the Week is a tablet with a difference, the Boogie Board LCD Writing Tablet. The Boogie Board differs vastly from its Tablet predecessors in a number of ways. The most important of these is that you create what is displayed on the screen – the tablet itself does not have the ability to create images. Because of this the Boogie Board range has been marketed as eWriters, as opposed to tablets in the conventional sense.
So, I suppose, that one could call the Boogie Board the next step in whiteboard technology, as opposed to labelling it as a new kind of Tablet PC. The Boogie Board comes equipped with a telescopic stylus which is used to write or draw pictures directly onto the 8.5inch tablet screen. The beauty of the Boogie Board is that it will keep the image you have drawn or the words you have written visible on the screen indefinitely – until someone presses the erase button located at the top of the tablet in the middle. In this way, the Boogie Board resembles the popular toy known as an Etch-a-Sketch, but the similarities end at this point.
All Boogie Boards, in its various sizes and forms, come complete with a LCD screen. By writing on the screen with the stylus the user disrupts the pattern on LCD crystals in the screen, which causes them to begin reflecting light, as opposed to absorbing it as they do in their normal state. The crystals that have been disturbed in the screen will hold their new shape and maintain the ability to reflect light until the erase button is pressed. This means that the Boogie Board is capable of displaying the same written message for a near infinite length of time – should we go the way of the dinosaurs, we can leave our thoughts and memories for the world on a Boogie Board in the knowledge that it will never fade or change or require any form of maintenance until a future archaeologist discovers it.
The Boogie Board is powered by a coin cell, similar to that found in most watches, and has a battery life of 50,000 screen
refreshes – according to the manufacturer. One drawback of these early models of Boogie Board, is that the battery cannot be changed by the owner, specialised tools are required for the job meaning that you have to send the device into a repairer to have the coin cell changed. This is not as serious as it may seem, because if – for example- you refresh the screen only once per day you are still left with a theoretical battery life of 136 years, in practice though, the battery is more likely to last around 5 to 10 years depending on usage.
The newer versions of the Boogie Board have begun departing from the plain rectangular shape. Newer models now fit neatly into files or binders, improving the ease of use of the device. Newer models of the Boogie Board, the Boogie Board Jot & Boogie Board Sync have added functionality.
The Boogie Board also represents an important step forward in another seemingly unrelated field – the environment.
Boogie Boards, particularly the 9.7″ Boogie Board Sync, are perfect for students and business people who no longer want to have to lug around reams of paper or heavy books, let alone the masses of wood needed to produce the paper. With the Boogie Board Sync students, designers, business people and virtually anybody who uses paper to their work can experience the benefits of going paperless. The Sync supports the installation of an SD card, which allows you to save your to computers. The Sync also supports USB computer connections and bluetooth, which allows you to send you notes wirelessly to your cell phone, tablet or laptop.
The Boogie Board is a nifty little gadget, which a whole host of potential uses all around the home. From being a convenient reusable shopping list stuck onto the fridge, to an architect’s sketch pad or an accountants notepad, the Boogie Board has the potential to replace them all.