http://www.epson.com/brightlink (opens in new tab) ¦ Retail price: $499 through Epson’s Brighter Futures Program
By Ben Grey
Epson’s Brightlink Solo is a wall-mounted unit that turns any projector and hard surface into an interactive unit.
Quality and Effectiveness
The product offers a costeffective way to turn an existing projector and surface into an interactive setup. The unit is simple to install, and five minutes after the box was opened, it was mounted on the wall and functioning as an interactive device. The installation plate is unobtrusive, and the Brightlink Solo can be set up in various ways to make the most use of existing whiteboards or any even, solid surface. The interactive pen is comfortable to use, and the function button is in a convenient and effective place on the pen. The pen functions correctly only when the unit projects on a hard surface, so hanging screens will not work.
Ease of Use
It took several calibration cycles for the Brightlink Solo to function properly, but it maintained its calibration after initial setup was complete. Once the unit is installed, it simply connects to a computer with the included USB cord. When the Easy Interactive driver is launched, the unit communicates with the Epson pen to provide the interactive experience. The pen runs on standard AAA batteries, and Epson includes two pens with the package. The Brightlink Solo can also be semi-portable should a district wish to purchase a limited number of units. Schools can purchase additional wall plates and then transport the units from room to room. The product easily attaches to the wall plate with a hanging channel and is then secured with two bolts, included with the unit, that take less than a minute to fasten.
Creative Use of Technology
Epson obviously intended setup to be simple, and it is. The Brightlink Solo would benefit from a software suite that helped build interactive lessons, such as other interactive whiteboard-tools have. Users can access TeamBoard Draw, but this application is more for basic annotation over presentations and projections. Schools looking for a complete interactive- design solution can consider adding separate software.
¦ Ease of installation and setup
¦ Potential portability
¦ Cost efficiency
The affordability and overall ease with which a school can take an existing projection setup and convert it to an interactive tool make the Brightlink Solo a compelling option.