Thursday, January 12, 2012

Review - Luna Interactive Projection Camera

When I took a first look at the $189.99 Luna Interactive Projection Camera from Learning Resources, I have to confess I was underwhelmed. My experience with document cameras had me imagining it could do the same as them.

Could it live up to the description on the web site, as shown below?
Easy-to-use digital projection camera is also a web cam and photo/video camera. Great for students’ multimedia projects across the curriculum or whole-class demonstration of manipulatives in action, book pages, science models and more. Document student progress for assessment, then upload files to digital portfolios or share with other educators or parents. Connects via USB port to use with your PC (XP, Vista, Win7) and is compatible with your interactive whiteboard.
To do a quick fact-check, let's take a look at the assertions made in the Learning Resources advertising....

  • Connects easily to a computer and is compatible with a projector or interactive whiteboard
  • Does not require purchase of batteries 
  • Use as a web cam
  • Take photos/videos to download to your computer or upload to your class website or virtual learning network
  • Lets you easily zoom in close
  • Illuminates dark settings or images
  • Requires no replacement lightbulbs
  • Fosters listening and speaking skills
  • Is ideal for assessment
  • Allows for video narration
  • Designed for busy teachers and even young students
  • Transition quickly from projecting one object to another
  • Move with ease — projects from anywhere in your room when connected to your computer!
  •  In reviewing the features listed above, the Luna performed as advertised. While I wouldn't use the word "easily" to describe zooming in--clicking the FOCUS button sometimes didn't work the first time, and adjusting the flex neck to get it to the right distance was more luck than anything else--it was possible to zoom in and get things working. You can see from the screenshots below that focus was crystal clear (although it took a few tries to get it just right), even while playing a TED Talk video of Sir Ken Robinson.
    A screenshot of Easi-View while recording a video. 
    A recording of Easi-View while it's recording input from the Luna while a TEDTalk is playing on my Android phone. The Easi-View worked well in this situation.

    The Luna came with a built-in light, which tended to "wash out" the subject of study. Still, it turned out to work quite well in the "cave" that is my office.
    1. The quality of the camera didn't seem that powerful.
    2. The built-in light was more of an annoyance, too bright in a normally lit room to be of use except to "wash out" the subject of the camera.
    3. The EasiView software was a bit clunky.
    4. I found it difficult to adjust the camera, and clicking the FOCUS button to bring the image into focus was not that obvious.
    After playing around with the Luna and putting it through its paces, I started to revise my assessment up. Compared to the more expensive Lumens Ladibug document cameras, it appears to hold its own quite well. 

    Full Disclosure: In the interests of full disclosure, this blog was provided a free Luna Interactive Projection Camera (LER 4400).  This review was not otherwise solicited or compensated from Learning Resources, and the opinions of the review are the opinion of its author.

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    Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


    YearntoLearn said...

    Did you use this on a Mac or PC? I just got one and am having trouble installing the software on a Mac.

    Tracy A. said...

    I just got mine and was so excited. Spent an hr afterschool trying to get this thing to show me something more that a black screen on the Luna software viewer. I heeded the warning that I needed to disable built-in cameras. Found a solution for the Mac Book Pro that handled that. Still got nothing.

    The Courage to Lead