The age of pico projectors has formally arrived with their huge presence at CES, and the first projector phone, the LG Expo, going on sale within the US. There was even a pico DLP Projector film competition in January, the place movies were screened on ice sculptures and naked backs. Pico projectors are both hand-held projectors, or projectors embedded in small electronic devices such as cell phones. They try to address one of the largest problems in electronics, which is that smaller is better…apart from screens. The strain between what our handheld devices are capable of doing versus what they are capable of showing by means of their interfaces grows stronger every year. Whether or not pico projectors are the answer to that downside stays 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. Evaluations to date say that the picture, which maxes out at 66 inches, seems good. This is barely the start 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 film onto the wall definitely has a “gee whiz” factor to it, like in the new LG commercial where an office worker is seen projecting Avatar on the wall of the break room. But earlier than we all throw away our huge screens, pico projectors have some issues to overcome.
One large issue is sound. If one of many advantages of a pico projector is that you should utilize a small kind factor to share video with a large group of people, getting big sound out is no easier. Battery life is one other potential issue. LG doesn’t give a rated battery life within the product specifications web page, and they seem to have embargoed that info as it doesn’t seem in any of the opinions so far. Bottom line: it’s unclear how far you’d get into a movie (not to mention Avatar) earlier than your phone died.
Pico projectors are additionally in a little bit of a foot race as all of our current screens get tied in to the grid. As an illustration, if you have been at a party and wanted to share a funny video you took together with your phone, right now it is likely to be easier to show it with a pico projector. Nonetheless, with net-enabled televisions and media heart PCs, soon (if not already) you can be able to simply ship video to any nearby screen.
And the places without personal screens the place you would possibly want to watch something, like airplanes and subways, are sometimes not sensible places to project images, significantly you probably have any qualms about pressure feeding your media preferences onto others.
Indeed, the very ease with which pico projectors can be used to create social awkwardness may very well be a big feature. Alexander Besher, one of many organizers of the pico projector film competition, thinks there might be important use of pico projectors in political professionaltests. Picture a nighttime war protest where hundreds of individuals have pico projectors showing graphic images of devastation on each available surface.
However, the most exciting use of pico projectors won’t be doing the things, like projecting movies, that we associate with traditional projectors. Instead, pico projectors may very well be used for augmented reality capabilities- projecting the digital world onto the bodily one.
To see the most superb potential applications utilizing this expertise, MIT’s “SixthSense” project is the place to look. We’ve reported on SixthSense earlier than, however here’s a recent video with even more superb features, including some iPad-like capabilities achieved using solely a pico projector and a sheet of paper.