The 2020 Election is well underway, and there seems to be one united question: What is that touchscreen board being used for the election map on CNN?
There’s typically anxiety around elections and the changes that they can bring, so getting to see new technology like a touchscreen board is a welcome addition.
CNN was an early adopter of the Multi-Touch Collaboration Wall, a touchscreen display created by Jefferson Han. Initially intended for military applications and sold to government agencies, Han’s company, Perceptive Pixel, was persuaded to produce these interactive displays for CNN.
Now known as the “Magic Wall” or the “Magic Map,” CNN regularly uses the interactive map in reporting on the United States presidential election.
CNN’s John King, aka “map guy” was amazed by the broadcast potential. John King’s assessment of using an interactive touchscreen display highlighted the possibilities for data visualization: “The wonder of this,” he said a moment later, gesturing toward what is essentially a giant Etch-a-Sketch, “is that you can show it. You can make the math accessible.”
The initial cost of the Magic Wall, back in 2007, was $100,000. Fortunately, interactive touchscreen displays, like the Vibe board, are significantly less expensive at $2999.