The BigBoard project

The BigBoard project enabled users to transfer media via Bluetooth to their phones by interacting with a large display. In this project we developed an electronic notice board (a PC and LCD screen) allowing the user to download and upload media to a shared server via Bluetooth (no cost).

This solution requires no client software and does not need the user to pair their device with the screen, nor does the screen broadcast spam. Big Board was used by schools, NGOs and libraries as an alternative local information distribution application and proved particularly popular as a way of sharing user-generated content such as recordings of local gospel choirs. PCs and screens are expensive and need electricity, which limit their applicability in developing regions.

To solve this, we ported the Big Board code to a Windows Mobile handset that acts as a server. Rather than use a screen display, this version uses printed images, which could be displayed in various contexts, such as a taxi. The system was developed with Microsoft research in the UK and as “snap and grab” the concept is protected with a US patent.