NEC U310W Interactive Projector - IPad Connectivity
March 2012 - Anthony Arrigo
NEC U310W Interactivity:
The NEC U310W isn’t just your typical projector, it is also interactive. With additional purchase of an interactive pen from NEC you open up all kinds of new features. I should note that the interactive pen could be used with multiple projectors not just this projector itself. However, you would lose some key functionality like using the pen to access the menu system of the projector. That feature is specific to this model. Designed for teachers and educators of all types, the interactive pen allows you to control your projector via your IPad, and it allows you to more importantly control your laptop via your IPad. However, that is not all. The pen and IPad application have all kinds of annotation features and drawing tools which is what truly makes this tool a great educational tool. First I will discuss setting up the interactivity then I will walk through some of the features.
The first step in setting up the interactivity is to install software on your laptop. This software is found on a USB thumb drive that comes with your pen. Assuming your wireless network is set up properly, the whole process of going from start to finish takes about 10 minutes. Once you have installed the software you then must go to the Apple App Store and download a free program called Doceri. Once you have installed the free application you can then plug your pen into the mic port of your IPad. The next step is to start the software on your laptop or desktop computer that is connected to your wireless network. Once the software is running you can move over to your IPad and start the Doceri app. It will look for your computer running the interactive software. You will know you are connected when you can see your whole desktop on the IPad screen, as well as a menu bar full of functionality above the view of your desktop. Now that were theoretically setup and connected, Let's look at some of the interactive features.
Software running on the Laptop
View from the IPad. Doceri software shows up in the green and black bar.
Tap the projector icon to access the projectors remote control.
Features & Usability
With Doceri and the pen you can do many things like annotation, drawing, and right and left mouse clicks. The pen pretty much allows you to do everything a mouse can do. You can also use multi-touch to zoom in on your desktop for more precise control of the computer. Zooming in and out does not show up in the projected image. The feature is designed just so the presenter has better control. It was very intuitive and reacted quickly to my hand gestures. I should note that I did my tests with both a first and third generation IPad. The first generation IPad was a little slower, but not by much.
One of the other more interesting characteristics of the software was the playback feature. You can move a slider that steps back and forth through your annotation history. It serves as a great way to undo or replay a particular lesson. The writing tools are pretty extensive with the interactive software. You can adjust the type of brush you use and even the color. A lot of the features you would find in a simple drawing program are available. Actions like wiping the screen of your drawings with one tap of the pen was alse a nice touch.
Connectivity was an issue at times and there were moments when the IPad lost signal with the network. Luckily the Doceri software does try to reconnect on its own freeing you from having to start everything all over again. Take a look at the pictures throughout this page to get a better sense of the features available with the interactive pen.