Monday, January 12, 2009
James, one of our AV technicians, had this terrific idea to take an old projector and laptop which were both bound for surplus and turn them into a creative, flexible signage system. The only cost was a wireless card for the projector. Another cost would be a permanent mounting system, but we've found that an old wire-framed desk inbox works pretty well to hold the projector against the wall. Surprisingly it doesn't look that bad, either--I'll have to add a picture to our flickr account.
Once we got the laptop talking to the projector via wireless, all we had to do was create a PowerPoint which incorporated all the information we needed to share about the Mac lab, Windows lab, and AV desk. While I am not usually a fan of animated PowerPoint shows, we incorporated some animation in the sign to make it more eye-catching. I've experimented with several kinds of files, even showing a video of a Second Life avatar in the lab pointing at different features with a dialogue bubble providing the information, but I found that was too hard to read on the carpet. It was probably overkill, too, since people just need the basic information, but it did look really cool. I've found that the best sign is a black PowerPoint with white letters and animated arrows.
So go check out your surplus area and see if you have 6-7 year old laptop in need of a purpose. You'd be surprised how easy it is to put together such a flexible, attractive signage system.