Woodinville company creates unique computer learning device
by Matt Schroeder
Children interested in computers will soon have the opportunity to learn everything they ever wanted to know about the Internet thanks to the Internet Discovery Kiosk, a traveling computer exhibit recently created by the Woodinville-based Microbyte company.
Now at the Boston Computer Museum, the Internet Discovery Kiosk will return to the Northwest for display at the Seattle Public Library in early fall.
The triangular, 8-foot-tall exhibit is made up of a computer server and two work stations.
Kids can learn about the Internet with sound and video from Bill Nye, Seattle's own science guy, and Microsoft's Bill Gates. Kids can check out Web sites with Internet Explorer 3.0, the newest Internet browser, or even create their own Web sites, which stay on the server for other exhibit-goers to see.
In the beginning, Microsoft intended to create the Internet exhibit for their museum and contacted Eric Lippke, the founder of Microbyte. Lippke designed and completed the project in six weeks using existing browser technology.
"Somewhere along the line, the project began to snowball," Lippke said. "It became more than it was intended to be, and so the plans changed, and now it's going on the road."
The Internet Discovery Kiosk actually uses the Intranet, which is quite similar to the Internet, only designed to be used in a closed environment such as an office building.
Microbyte specializes in Intranet technology, and their skill gives features to the Kiosk that are unmatched on the World Wide Web. Video on the Kiosk, for example, moves at about motion picture speed, while video clips from the Internet are quite slow and choppy. Video at the Internet Discovery Kiosk is also four times larger than that on the Internet, with better resolution.
Lippke hopes that this will show what we may be able to expect in the future.