office productivity gear
Mimio Xi White Board Recorder
By Joel Shore
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
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
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 1⁄4
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.
“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
Built for growth. Key to the Mimio Xi is its upgradeability, through
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
(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.<