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The free document camera

January 5, 2011

So you’ve seen Frank’s $2 interactive whiteboard, and you’re probably thinking, “you know, what I really need now is a document camera.” Too bad most of them cost hundreds of dollars, and can be quite a hassle to set up and get working correctly (I need to set DIP switches to properly configure the SMART camera, seriously?). This isn’t really a low-tech alternative, but if you’ve got a smartphone with a camera, and are want to repurpose this tool a bit, you’ve got an awesome document camera.

This is based on a great tip I got from @danderson .

Here’s how it works:

  1. If you haven’t already, set up dropbox on your computer. This is the most awesome syncing/backup tool ever. It gives you 2GB of free cloud storage, which it syncs nearly instantly with every computer you own (macs/pcs/linux/whatever).
  2. Set up the the dropbox client on your smartphone (there are iphone/android/blackberry) versions. This puts your whole 2GB archive available on your phone, and also allows many of your phone’s other apps to access this space.
  3. Open the dropbox app on your smartphone and take a photo.
  4. Watch in amazement as your photo is uploaded to the cloud seconds after you take it.
  5. Find the location in your dropbox folder on your computer where the photo was uploaded (you can choose this in the dropbox app).
  6. Marvel at how the photo got to the folder in your dropbox faster than you could navigate to that folder through the file structure.
  7. Open the photo and project it on the projector.

@senor206 took @danderson’s 60 second challenge, and was able to set a new record: 41 seconds, and he’s got proof, which you’ve got to see to believe. Which is far faster than I’m usually able to switch over from the computer projector to the document camera and get everything going.

Feel free to try to break @senor206’s record and post your best time in the comments below.

Now that you’ve discovered one awesome thing dropbox can do, why not check out this list filled with other amazing hints:

The ultimate dropbox tookit and guide

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 10, 2011 4:29 pm

    Nice tip! Thank you. I have a document camera now which I heart, but they’re not in every room and I don’t always teach in my room. I had been emailing pictures to myself but this seems quicker.

  2. February 24, 2011 5:16 pm

    If you on an iOS device and have $2 laying around, this got even faster, with DroPhox, a iOS app that automatically transfers photos wirelessly and nearly instantly to your dropbox folder.

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