The age of pico projectors has officially 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 festival in January, the place films were screened on ice sculptures and bare backs. Pico projectors are either hand-held projectors, or projectors embedded in small electronic devices reminiscent of cell phones. They try and address one of many largest problems in electronics, which is that smaller is better…apart from screens. The strain between what our handheld gadgets are capable of doing versus what they are capable of showing by way of their interfaces grows stronger each year. Whether pico projectors are the reply to that drawback 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 up to 9 feet away. Opinions so far say that the image, which maxes out at 66 inches, appears good. This is just the beginning of course. While the LG projector is a clip-on accessory, future versions will match into the phone’s kind factor.
Utilizing 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 all of us throw away our big screens, pico projectors have some issues to overcome.
One massive difficulty is sound. If one of many benefits of a pico projector is that you can use a small kind factor to share video with a large group of people, getting large sound out isn’t any easier. Battery life is another potential issue. LG doesn’t give a rated battery life in the product specifications page, they usually appear to have embargoed that information as it doesn’t seem in any of the reviews so far. Bottom line: it’s unclear how far you’d get right into a movie (not to mention Avatar) earlier than your phone died.
Pico projectors are also in a bit of a foot race as all of our present screens get tied in to the grid. For example, if you happen to have been at a party and wished to share a funny video you took with your phone, proper now it might be simpler to show it with a pico projector. However, with web-enabled televisions and media center PCs, soon (if not already) you can be able to simply ship 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, notably if you have any qualms about drive feeding your media preferences onto others.
Indeed, the very ease with which pico projectors can be utilized to create social awkwardness could be a major feature. Alexander Besher, one of many organizers of the pico projector film pageant, thinks there might be important use of pico projectors in political protests. Image a nighttime war professionaltest the place hundreds of people have pico projectors showing graphic images of devastation on each available surface.
Nevertheless, essentially the most thrilling use of pico projectors won’t be doing the things, like projecting films, that we affiliate with traditional projectors. Instead, pico projectors could be used for augmented reality features- projecting the digital world onto the physical one.
To see the most amazing potential purposes using this expertise, MIT’s “SixthSense” project is the place to look. We’ve reported on SixthSense earlier than, however here is a latest video with even more superb features, together with some iPad-like capabilities achieved using solely a pico mini projector and a sheet of paper.