The age of pico projectors has officially arrived with their enormous presence at CES, and the first projector phone, the LG Expo, happening sale within the US. There was even a pico projector film competition in January, where films have been screened on ice sculptures and naked backs. Pico projectors are either hand-held projectors, or projectors embedded in small electronic gadgets comparable to cell phones. They try and address one of the biggest issues in electronics, which is that smaller is best…except for screens. The stress between what our handheld units are capable of doing versus what they’re capable of showing by way of their interfaces grows stronger each year. Whether pico projectors are the reply 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 ft away. Evaluations thus far say that the image, which maxes out at 66 inches, seems good. This is just the start of course. While the LG projector is a clip-on accessory, future variations will fit into the phone’s type factor.
Using your phone to project a film onto the wall certainly has a “gee whiz” factor to it, like within the new LG business the place an office employee is seen projecting Avatar on the wall of the break room. However earlier than we all throw away our huge screens, pico projectors have some issues to overcome.
One large concern is sound. If one of the benefits of a pico projector is that you need to use a small form factor to share video with a big group of individuals, getting massive sound out is not any easier. Battery life is one other potential issue. LG doesn’t give a rated battery life within the product specs page, they usually appear to have embargoed that info as it doesn’t appear in any of the opinions 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 bit of a foot race as all of our current screens get tied in to the grid. As an illustration, if you happen to have been at a party and needed to share a humorous video you took along with your phone, right now it is likely to be easier to show it with a pico projector. Nonetheless, with web-enabled televisions and media center PCs, soon (if not already) you’ll be able to easily send video to any nearby screen.
And the places without personal screens where you would possibly wish to watch something, like airplanes and subways, are sometimes not practical places to project images, significantly you probably have any qualms about force feeding your media preferences onto others.
Indeed, the very ease with which pico projectors can be used to create social awkwardness might be a big feature. Alexander Besher, one of many organizers of the pico projector film pageant, thinks there could be important use of pico projectors in political protests. Picture a nighttime war professionaltest the place hundreds of people have pico projectors showing graphic images of devastation on each available surface.
Nonetheless, probably the most exciting use of pico projectors may not be doing the things, like projecting motion pictures, that we associate with traditional projectors. Instead, pico projectors could possibly be used for augmented reality functions- projecting the digital world onto the physical one.
To see probably the most amazing potential applications using this expertise, MIT’s “SixthSense” project is the place to look. We’ve reported on SixthSense before, however here’s a recent video with even more superb options, including some iPad-like capabilities achieved using only a pico valuable projector and a sheet of paper.