Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Boogie Board Paperless LCD Writing Tablet

We’ve all been there, we need to make a quick note and can’t find a piece of scrap paper to write on, our pen runs out of ink or worst of all we get the note written but lose the paper later. If that was a piece of critical information for our jobs we might be up the proverbial creek! Boogie Board has tried to alleviate the potential for any of the above scenarios with its LCD Writing Tablet.

As you can see from the lower right corner of the photo above, I am a note taker extraordinaire! I have countless scraps of paper & pads on my desk detailing all the items I need to complete, research, or file away. Once the task is complete I reuse the rest of the paper or recycle it. So when I was fortunate enough to open up the mail to find this Boogie Board one afternoon I immediately started doing the happy dance!

First off, inside the cover is a statistic that one of these babies per student in one classroom for the life of their education (Kindergarten through High School) can save upwards of 3 million trees. Holy cow that is great! It is great for notes or drawings, then simply push the erase button to free the screen for the next great idea.

The Boogie Board is super thin, only about 1/8” thick at the screen, and the stylus pen that comes with it is telescoping (it extends to double the size). Compared to a small pad of paper, its compact size of roughly 4” x 7” fits nicely on the corner of a desk or in a laptop case and won’t add a whole lot of extra weight. Plus it comes with a cleaning cloth that wipes down the screen, static and liquid free, and the unit is priced at under $30.

There are some drawbacks. It can not be connected to a computer so notes must either be transcribed or a photo needs to be taken if the user wants to save the screen. The screen is pressure sensitive but it does not come with a carrying case (I fashioned my own out of the superfluous cardboard packaging it is shipped in). There is no attached slot to store the stylus so I could see it easily getting lost. Finally, the product runs on non-rechargeable batteries (3V watch battery, sealed) so the unit must be trashed upon the end of their life. Researching recycling options is recommended but to me this is a real bummer.

Overall, I feel the innovation outweighs many of the drawbacks and I am granting the Boogie Board a Three Leaf Rating!

I look forward to where your technological efforts lead in the future Boogie Board! ♥love♥


Julie said...

This is one rating which I feel the need to challenge. I won't argue with the coolness factor. I mean, I want one to play with too. But I am not very convinced that the innovation is reducing the environmental impact.

Let's start with the satistic. 3 million trees could be saved if just one classroom uses these from K through 12. Let's break that down:

3,000,000 trees
divided by the number of students in the class -- let's say 25
divided by the number of years in school (K-12 = 13)
divided by a required 180 days of school...

That comes to 51 trees. So, their statistic says that 51 TREES -- not pieces of paper -- per day per student will be saved?

As a mother of a school-aged child, some days that doesn't seem far fetched, but truly... there's no way. MAYBE if this was replacing books too, but since this doesn't synch with anything, I can't imagine that's what they meant.

Also, while they state it would "save" 3 million trees, it's not mentioning how much oil and other materials are required to produce this high-tech notepad.

I am aware that various chemicals are involved in paper production, and that it results in toxic bi-products, but wouldn't it be more eco-friendly to use recycled paper than to use one of these only to have to transcribe it to... a piece of paper? Even if it never needs to be transcribed to anything else, what a waste to have to throw this thing away once the batteries give out! Even recycling this would -- I expect -- cause greater strain on the environment than recycling paper.

Finally, back to the paper stat, keep in mind that 3 million is stated to be over the course of 13 years. So, even if 3 million trees is a valid estimate, that equates to as few as half an acre of trees per year for the entire class. That's not so much when the land is a tree farm dedicated to renewable trees.

I don't know if I could give this any leaves personally, considering the fact that it seems its environmental impact would be greater than its conventional counterpart's.

But it looks cool. ;)

Almost Precious said...

Well Julie certainly had a lot of good points to her argument and valid ones at that.
But I could see how this would be a boon for someone who finds it impossible to keep a pen and notebook in their possession at all times. As far as the drawbacks, well maybe they'll work them out and bring out a new, improved product in the future.

Julie said...

Almost, Devil's Advocate here again, but if you have trouble keeping paper & pen handy, how would it be any different with this thing? ;)

I ask because I'm in the same boat. I'd be afraid of losing this $30 pad &/or stylus.

Jenn said...

So happy there is a good old fashioned healthy debate (ish) going on over this item! Honestly my rating is based solely on the usefulness that I personally find with this item. And from current experience I have to say it really has been very useful! Here's why...

Each day I come into my office here to do a GLR write up (sometimes just research, not a post), upload photos to my website, and overall just organize my day. Well I used to grab some post-it notes to make lists of all the things I had to do that day, but now I don't do that anymore because I write it out on this Boogie Board instead and I have got to say, for me, using it in this manner has been a tree and money saver! Usually I can go through an entire pack of post-its in just under 2 weeks but I have used NONE since getting this baby. It has reduced the trash I am throwing out my front door (even if I do recycle those bad boys).

I can see the drawback to not having it plug into the computer but in reality I can't imagine a student being able to utilize this for every class during the day without running out of space anyway. In my eyes, after having used it for a couple weeks now, this is meant for quick notes, phone messages, reminders, etc. and not for large ammounts of text to be transcribed later -- all the notes one would take in class --, just quick info stuff like the date & time of a test, etc.

I keep it on the corner of my desk with the stylus right on top of it and make my notes for the day. When I've completed the tasks I erase the whole screen and move onto the next day's list. In my eyes 2 packs of post-its per month (= to 24 packs per year) is not only a huge waste of money but, yes trees too! The emissions to create the Boogie Board once as opposed to all of that paper product plus the emission created from recycling it later seems as if it might just be a wash.

Because of all of these factors I firmly stand by my Leaf rating on this item.

I am however going to put a feeler out to the company on their projected battery life because if it is only in use when hitting erase I can see how it could potentially last 13 years but if it is constantly running when something is written on the screen then no, I agree it would die long before the end of a school career. I will keep you informed!

Jenn said...

Oh and I meant to also make a note that I spend about $3o a year on post-its. If this lasts even 2 years the cost savings would be 100% return.

Julie said...

Well, I'm glad it's working out. I still think a more viable option would to take any 1-sided junk mail, backs of greeting cards, etc. and tear/cut them into "quick note" sizes and use those. That's something my mom did. Granted, if you've managed to cut out most of your junkmail and such, maybe you don't have the scrap to use that I do!

I've personally never been a huge post-it user, (mostly probably because of the above mentioned scrap paper,) but I can see where it would be a cost benefit...

But so would posting on craigslist asking for obselete letterhead to cut into quarters for quick note paper.

I don't know. I still think that even if the pad lasted 5 years -- or even 10, recycling the electronic device (if you can!) has to be a greater impact based on your post-it consumption of about 25 pads/year. I mean, even after a decade, that's 250 pads. That sounds like no more than a single tree to me. Yes, it's definitely a cost savings if it lasts that long... which should earn it a "penny saver" rating, not necessarily Green Leaves.

I'll shut up now. ;)

(I swear, I mean well! I'm just here to keep you on your toes!)