The Note-Taker device is a prototype for visually impaired students to be able to listen, watch, and take notes all at the same time. It was developed by David Hayden, at the end of his junior year at Arizona State University, when he submitted his invention to the worldwide Microsoft Imagine Cup competition (in the “touch and tablet” category).
The device is designed help students with low vision follow classroom instruction and take notes as easily as fully sighted students. The split-screen interface enables students with visual impairments to glance back and forth between the live video view of the classroom presentation and their notes. The video window allows the user to aim and zoom the camera by using simple dragging, tapping or pinching motions within the video window.
The Note-Taker is portable, requires no installation in the classroom, and there is no delay when transitioning between taking your notes and viewing the board. The Note-Taker sits flat on a desk. On one half of the screen is a digital note pad, where users enter handwritten notes; on the other half is live, streaming video from a camera that points at a target such as a chalkboard. In the video window the user can "drag" the live picture and the motors on the camera will pan and tilt to readjust its position.
A planned fifth-generation device took advantage of the latest advances in digital video technology to boost the Note-Taker’s performance.
The sixth-generation prototype planned to add audio and video recording functions that provide synchronized playback of lectures, along with the corresponding handwritten or typed notes – enabling students to quickly review lessons after classes.