Product Reviews

Product Reviews

In Brief

Get rid of those "Do not erase" notes taped to the white boards in your office. The Mimio Xi records everything written to a white board and saves it for later playback or for immediate broadcast over the Internet. Now, your presentations can live forever. Best, you don’t need a PC to record a presentation. Stuff it with batteries and go.


Price

$799

Virtual Ink
Cambridge, Mass.


Competition

It’s not a crowded field. For an alternative, check out the eBeam from Electronics For Imaging.


Extra Features

Plug-ins for the Mimio software extend the device’s usefulness. MimioMouse enables simultaneous interactive presentations with an LCD projector. Another plug-in converts handwriting into editable text. A third module works with Microsoft’s NetMeeting application to support streaming of whiteboard notes with synchronized voice audio over the Internet.


 

office productivity gear

Mimio Xi White Board Recorder

Rating:

By Joel Shore

September 9, 2002

Darn, I slept through class again. Can I borrow your notes?

That wouldn’t happen if the teacher had used a Mimio Xi. This smart device attaches to a white board and records every stroke of those dry-erase markers. Later, you can play the session back on your PC. It’s such a clever idea, I may never have to go to class again—except to take the mid-term and final exams.

Ok, seriously, the Mimio Xi wasn’t intended for such frivolous use. In the real world, the mimio Xi allows business executives, consultants, trainers, and educators to instantly capture, edit and share whiteboard information electronically.

What’s great is that unlike its predecessors, the Mimio Xi is battery powered. That means it doesn’t have to be connected to a PC to operate. Just stick it to a white board, slip the markers into the special plastic sleeves, and you can record up to 10 hours worth of white boarding. Later, you can connect the device to a PC and save the entire presentation. You can distribute it or even post it on a Web site.

If you connect it to an Internet-connected PC, you can broadcast your whiteboard session live, in real time, over the Internet. Connect the PC to a video projector and you can put your presentation on a giant screen. That’s a nice feature when your audience is spread across the country or across a conference room.

Since presentations are recorded as data files, you can keep them forever on a hard disk or CD-ROM. That’s great insurance. If there’s any question about what was decided in a meeting, or what project specifications were agreed to, it’s a breeze to open the file and play back the meeting, stroke by stroke.

The Mimio bar weighs less than two pounds when loaded with batteries. It’s hinged in the middle for easy travel and folds to a mere 9 14 inches. To attach the bar to a whiteboard, you use two small clear plastic brackets that have double-sided adhesive strips. That’s certainly secure, but it means those brackets have to stay put. If you want to use the Mimio in several locations, you’ll need to stock up on spare mounting brackets. Suction cups would be more convenient, but might not hold to a dusty board.

So how does it work? Ok, so here’s where we get a little technical. First, you attach the Mimio bar vertically to the upper left corner of your white board. Next, you slip each marker into a color-coded plastic sleeve. Each sleeve transmits an ultrasonic signal that’s picked up by the bar. The four sleeves send a slightly different signal, so Mimio knows which color you’re writing with. There’s also an electronic eraser that’s shaped like a hockey puck. It has a felt-covered bottom, so you really do erase with it. Now here’s the magic: As you use the markers and eraser, the Mimio bar receives those ultrasonic signals and records them. It’s elegant in its simplicity.

This stroke over time recording method is a lot like taping a TV show on your VCR. You can rewind, fast-forward, and play back everything that was written on the whiteboard.

Built for growth. Key to the Mimio Xi is its upgradeability, through pop-out interchangeable link modules. A USB module comes standard with the device and offers fast downloads of whiteboard notes to a PC, via a USB cable. Additional connectivity modules, such as removable storage and wireless (Bluetooth, WiFi, IrDA) are in the works.

The Mimio Xi software records your whiteboard notes and drawings to a file with a .ink file extension. This .ink data can be replayed, integrated into other applications, or exported to a variety of other file formats. With its self-viewing ink format capabilities, anyone can receive and replay whiteboard notes, whether or not they have the Mimio software.

Every office should have a Mimio.<

 
Yeas & Nays

Yea:

4Works without a PC

4Expansion modules offer wireless alternative to USB

4Less than 2 lbs.

Nay:

4Marker sleeves could be more comfortable

4Occasional skips in following markers

4Bar attaches with adhesive brackets,
not suction cups


In the Box

• Mimio Xi capture bar
• USB module
• software CD
• Eraser with holder
• Four styli
• Four markers
• USB cable
• AC power adaptor
• Mouse insert
• Mouse control panel
• Calculator panel
• Batteries
• Mounting brackets
• Quick Start guide

 

   

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