This is just so cool!
Microsoft research have come up with some really cool tools for capturing and manipulating whiteboard contents captured using low quality web cams. My whiteboard is right behind me, (so my web cam points right at it, so it would work just great, but the downloads are MS only. The best trick is it removes the person writing on the board from the image. Here are some of the key points:
Other systems use expensive cameras or dedicated electronic whiteboards. The Live Whiteboard system, developed at Microsoft Research by Zhengyou Zhang and Li-wei He, uses whatever whiteboard you already have. It only needs an inexpensive Web cam and some clever software.
Live Whiteboard doesn’t just deliver a video stream of the whiteboard. The software takes out all the shadows and uneven surfaces that come through on a Web cam, and turns the whiteboard into an image that allows viewers to see the whiteboard notes. Through a series of image processing procedures, the originally captured image is first transformed into a rectangular bitmap to correct perspective distortion, and then color-enhanced to increase contrast, saturation, and to provide a clean uniform white background.
In addition, if the remote viewer wants to focus his attention only on the content, the system can take out the image of the person who is writing on the board. The remote viewer sees only the new content magically appearing, he never sees the person who is writing the content. This saves even more bandwidth.