The age of pico projectors has formally arrived with their large presence at CES, and the first projector phone, the LG Expo, going on sale within the US. There was even a pico projector film competition in January, where motion pictures were screened on ice sculptures and bare backs. Pico projectors are both hand-held projectors, or projectors embedded in small digital gadgets such as cell phones. They try to address one of the biggest issues in electronics, which is that smaller is best…aside from screens. The tension between what our handheld units are capable of doing versus what they’re capable of showing by their interfaces grows stronger every year. Whether or not pico projectors are the answer to that downside remains to be seen.
LG is first out of the gate with a pico projector that attaches to their new LG Expo. The attachment retails for $179 and projects a 480 x 320 image as much as 9 feet away. Critiques thus far say that the image, which maxes out at 66 inches, seems to be good. This is simply the beginning of course. While the LG projector is a clip-on accessory, future variations will match into the phone’s form factor.
Using your phone to project a movie onto the wall actually has a “gee whiz” factor to it, like within the new LG industrial where an office employee is seen projecting Avatar on the wall of the break room. But before all of us throw away our huge screens, pico projectors have some issues to overcome.
One massive situation is sound. If one of many advantages of a pico projector is that you should utilize a small form factor to share video with a big group of individuals, getting massive sound out isn’t any easier. Battery life is another potential issue. LG doesn’t give a rated battery life within the product specifications page, and so they appear to have embargoed that data as it doesn’t seem in any of the evaluations so far. Backside line: it’s unclear how far you’d get into a movie (let alone Avatar) earlier than your phone died.
Pico projectors are additionally in a little bit of a foot race as all of our existing screens get tied in to the grid. For instance, should you were at a party and wanted to share a funny video you took along with your phone, proper now it might be easier to show it with a pico projector. However, with net-enabled televisions and media middle PCs, soon (if not already) you can be able to simply ship video to any close by screen.
And the places without personal screens where you would possibly need to watch something, like airplanes and subways, are sometimes not practical places to project images, notably you probably have any qualms about power feeding your media preferences onto others.
Indeed, the very ease with which pico projectors can be used to create social awkwardness could be a big feature. Alexander Besher, one of the organizers of the pico projector film pageant, thinks there could be important use of pico projectors in political protests. Image a nighttime war professionaltest the place hundreds of individuals have pico projectors showing graphic images of devastation on each available surface.
However, essentially the most exciting use of pico projectors might not be doing the things, like projecting films, that we associate with traditional projectors. Instead, pico projectors may very well be used for augmented reality features- projecting the digital world onto the physical one.
To see the most amazing potential purposes utilizing this expertise, MIT’s “SixthSense” project is the place to look. We’ve reported on SixthSense earlier than, but here’s a recent video with even more superb options, together with some iPad-like capabilities achieved using solely a pico projector and a sheet of paper.