The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday January 22nd

N.C. State installs touch-screen wall in library

Technology will help group work

A new “multi-touch” wall at N.C. State University will allow students and faculty to channel their inner Anderson Cooper by allowing its users to manipulate data and graphics.

The Perceptive Pixel wall, a $100,000 piece of equipment, is 92 inches across diagonally and was recently installed in the D.H. Hill Library on NCSU’s campus.

David Woodbury, the learning commons librarian at NCSU, oversaw the installation of the touch screen and will monitor its use.

“The advantage is that you can take the things you can do on an iPad and turn it into a whole wall,” Woodbury said. “A lot of collaborative and presentation work and exploring graphics can be done in a very different way than just a static, flat screen.”

Woodbury said the wall is an experiment in display technology, which will be the focus of a new library opening on the campus next year.

The touch-screen will be available to all students but will be particularly useful to students working on design projects or group work, he said.

The Perceptive Pixel wall was paid for by a federal grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services that was administered by the State Library of North Carolina. The university applied for the grant and received $100,000.

Chad Haefele, emerging technologies librarian for UNC Libraries, said that although the libraries have introduced technology such as a new mobile-accessible website and overhead scanners, technology such as the Perceptive Pixel wall would not be as useful at UNC.

“State and UNC have different institutional priorities,” Haefele said. “They have a big computer science program, so it makes perfect sense for them to have one of these walls.”

But some students said they wish to see more media usage on campus.

“SMART boards would be really useful in study rooms for group work,” said Anna Abate, a freshman history major at UNC. “There isn’t a good way to largely display material.”

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