In the early 90s, Dave and Christine Vernier were frequent participants at educational conventions. They regularly ran into representatives from Texas Instruments and swapped classroom war stories over dinners.
At the end of one day of meetings in 1993, the TI team invited the Verniers up to their business suite. Assuming they were headed for another night of socializing, the Verniers agreed, only to be greeted upon their arrival by a phalanx of engineers. The reps from TI then revealed the model for what was to become their first data-collection interface — the CBL, or “Calculator-Based Laboratory.”
“They were actually concerned that they might be a threat to us,” Dave recalls. “They told us they’d heard good things about us, and asked if we’d be willing to work together. Obviously it was an honor – and it was the beginning of a tremendous relationship that has endured to this day.”
“They told us they’d heard good things about us, and asked if we’d be willing to work together. Obviously it was an honor – and it was the beginning of a tremendous relationship that has endured to this day.”
From the very first, the combination of the CBL and Vernier sensors was a major hit. Teachers could leverage the graphing calculators they were already using, saving the expense of having to invest in new hardware, while adding dynamic, real-time data collection capabilities. The two companies then pooled their engineering talents, co-developing the Calculator-Based Ranger, Vernier Motion Detector, Vernier LabPro, and CBL 2. Vernier also has developed several sensors that connect directly to a TI calculator.
Says Rick Sorensen, formerly a physics teacher, and now a Partner at Vernier, “TI and the educational community appreciate the fact that we deliver a complete package. Our products are affordable, they’re easy to use, and they offer the complete solution that teachers need. And that’s because we understand teachers; even our employees who’ve never taught keep the demands of the classroom on the top of their minds. Teachers and students tell us that instead of dealing with theoretical data, they would rather view and analyze ‘real’ data. Our products make it possible for students to do an exciting, highly interactive lab, and get immediate feedback on their work. And that’s what sets Vernier apart.”
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