Posted on

Is the apple watch a place for a projector?

0910_apple-iwatch_2000x1125-1940x1091

With the upcoming release of the apple watch there has been a lot of buzz surrounding the product emerging from various blogs and sources.  One of the more interesting theories that we found was the idea that the apple watch may have projector technology built into it on later versions of the device.  The apparent goal is to allow users to project images above the face of the watch and interact with them without using a touch screen.  Current estimates are that this kind of technology is only about 2-5 years off.

We’ve already seen some really crazy stuff being done with projectors in the last couple of months such as the air burton pico projector which employs particle technology to create a projection that seems to float in mid air.

tumblr_inline_neln4visU81qzrkxh

In recent years it has also become popular to hold virtual concerts for artists that are represented by a fake person or even artists that are dead as we saw with Tupac Shakur and Michael Jackson.  However despite all of these uses it just still seems like we’re nowhere close to actually coming out with holograms comparable to the one that R2-D2 projected for Luke to let him know Leah was in danger.

r2-d2-princess-leia-hologram

That being said, is the apple watch really a place for a projector like this or is it really just a gimmick.  One thing that comes to mind is privacy, which is something that most people today take into consideration a lot while using electronic devices.  Think about it most people hid the screen of their phone while they are texting because they don’t want people to see what they are saying, or what they are looking at.  Now imagine this information being projected above your phone and into the air for everyone to see, hopefully you don’t get a racy text in public!  The feature could be nice for things such as Apple FaceTime and other video chat however, but that does require more hardware built into the watch such as cameras and other various light sensors.

neptune-pine-smartwatch-designboom-03

In conclusion, realistically is the apple watch an appropriate home for a holographic projector?  Probably not, but you could have asked us if a 7” cellphone with no buttons was a good idea 5 years ago and we would have said no to that too.  It totally depends on implementation in the product and how it is used.  That being said, technology like this does have very viable uses, for professionals that do 3D modeling or repair things and need to look at models of parts to understand how they work holographic technology could be very viable.  But until then, we’re just going to have to rely on our non-holographic standard apple watches to get us by.  But just keep in mind that it may not be far off until this is happening:

Star-wars-Phone-call

 

 

Posted on

Lenovo’s First Real Foray into Pocket Projectors Arrives

Lenovo has released a “portable” projector in the past, that was bundled with a tablet, though.  This new device, simply called the Lenovo Pocket Projector, is a simple projector with solid specs for the money.

Lenovo-Pocket-Projector-Hands-On-20-710x473

Announced at MWC 2015, the projector has a 50 lumen engine built in, with a resolution of 854×480.  It’s pretty standard fare for a portable projector, the differentiator here is the rotating projection component, it can be rotated up to 90 degrees in order to get the perfect angle needed, which would come in handy for a lot of people!

Lenovo-Pocket-Projector-Hands-On-13-710x473

We’re excited to get our hands on this projector, Lenovo stated it will hit stores soon with a $199 pricetag.

Lenovo-Pocket-Projector-Hands-On-5-710x473

Posted on

Vision Cube – The most simple pico projector we’ve ever seen

j6atdcp0i7dvfep0nidk

Recently over on indiegogo a new project for a pocket projector showed up, The Vision Cube.  It’s a sleek little cube shaped projector that communicates to devices via WIFI only, there are no ports on the projector to reduce it’s size.

20150211012752-l_tv_ny_1

The projector charges via micro USB cable and the creators have stated that it will come with a  proprietary magnetic tripod that also has a micro usb connector on it so that the projector can be charged while it is in use and mounted.

20150212093405-r_szletrajz20150211014036-vet_t_si_sz_g

 

 

From what we can gather the projector basically has a EZcast stick built into it that allows it to communicate via an installed app on either android, ios, or windows.  It is currently unclear what capabilities the app will actually have as far as if it can directly mirror the screen or if it can only display apps such as netflix, youtube, and hulu like a chromecast.

20150212093207-mobil

 

This is a similar functionality that other pico projectors have showcased however none have been this compact and none have used it as the only technology for the projectors, there are a few things however that we are worried about with the vision cube such as its claimed specifications and size constraints.  The projector is claimed to only be 100mm x 100mm x 100mm and boast a 1300 lumen projection with up to 20 hours of battery life.

We review a lot of projectors here and we’ve torn down our fair share of them to see exactly what makes them tick.  We can definitely confirm that the specs they are claiming are highly unlikely to make it to production due to the size of the unit.  Currently the brightest pico projectors are running at about 800 lumens and are almost the size of full-sized projectors.  On top of that the amount of power they require to run warrants a large battery that would definitely be larger than this entire unit to be capable of the times they are claiming.

20150215130107-tulajdons_gok_r_szletes

The concept of the vision cube is definitely innovative and is something that we would like to see them build upon to make a full fledged product, but in a realistic world we just know that the claimed specs cannot happen so we aren’t holding our breath.

The Visioncube is currently being funded over at indiegogo, if you are interested in it we highly recommend that you help fund it because indie projects like this only come to life if they have backers, here is a link to their product page so that you can check it out for yourself.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/visioncube-the-mobile-projector

 

 

Posted on

Forget office status boards, SIO is the future of office status updates.

2014-12-30_1454-300x199

20141219001407-perspective_2

SIO, a new indiegogo project, plans to replace your clock with an interactive projector based product that can give you status updates directly from an android or IOS device.  This could be used personally or for everyone in the office to see.

SIO mounts to your wall and uses LED projectors integrated into the 4 sides of it to produce images containing information from your smartphone.  These projectors are pretty low grade and can only project text, but can do so in a couple different colors Red, Green, Blue, and Purple.

20141214214027-blue

20141214213958-red

 

 

 

SIO has an app app that gathers information from your phone or computers calendar, e-mail, texting, clock, and many other apps.   It then sends this data to the SIO wirelessly and then the SIO projects it onto the wall.


2014-12-30_1454

The SIO will also function as a bluetooth speaker, although he unit is pretty small, we’re curious to see what kind of sound it can put out, we’re really hoping this isn’t a 1 watt speaker as many picos have.

The SIO also has a pretty cool screensaver function where it projects star images into the ceiling to create a kind of night time sky effect in the office.  We have not seen this in action yet but we’re curious to see if it’s going to be cheesy or actually cool like the “Star” roof you can get in a Bentley.

Roof2

 

The only promise of this feature that we have is a hint of it in the preview images of the app:

2014-12-30_1453

Anyways, we’re pretty excited about this product.  Word is that we’ll see some prototypes coming around in the next 3 months.  Planned pricing for the unit is somewhere in the area of $150-$200 CAD.  We still definitely have some questions that need to be answered about the SIO but we’re sure more information will become available as the prototypes become available.

Check out SIO for yourself over ait their indiegogo page: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/sio-your-led-projector-agenda

Posted on

Immersis, VR without a helmet that everyone can experience.

inventory

A new product has popped up on kick starter and its something that almost seems too good to be true.  It’s called Immersis and it claims that it can create an experience similar to a virtual reality helmet or Oculus Rift through projection.  The kick starter is extremely close to it’s goal so it looks like this is definitely something we’re going to see come into production.  Today we’re going to be going over the known specs and technology used in the Immersis as well as pricing and whether or not we think this product is going to be a hit.

inventory

Initially you can tell this is a sleek product, and by the way that it folds it has to be portable, Immersis has not released many pictures indicating the actual size of this unit as compared to other objects.  From what we can tell it is supposed to sit behind the users on a table or something raised so that the head of the projector is above their heads.  The only two images we’ve seen as far as size comparison goes are:

6232d2e55b0406655670f634d3622c81_large

This, which makes it look pretty compact as you can tell you are looking at the bottom of the unit and that it is sitting on a table.

eae878a9149d87721b8c0a37e4b233ab_large

And this, which makes it look absolutely massive compared to the users.

So for the time being we can’t really tell if this is truly using pico projector technology, or if this is a very oddly shaped full-sized projector.  Time will tell as more media and possibly even prototypes are made for this projector.

As for the specs of this projector, we’re thinking it has to be pretty bright to be able to fully immerse (pun intended) the users especially since one of the main features of the Immersis is that it can expand your TV’s screen around the borders of the LCD panel as seen in the two pictures above.  To us this would indicate that it needs a pretty bright light source to be able to create an image comparable to the TV.  From the information that they have released about the product it looks to use a replaceable light source with a color-wheel which makes us think that its going to be using some sort of a sodium light bulb as it’s light source instead of LEDs.  This could definitely account for the brightness they are claiming but would also mean that the head of the unit where the optics are located needs to be fairly big and also is going to need a lot of cooling.  Another possible issue we see with this is uniform focus on un-even surfaces which is something that only a laser projection can do.  Immersis claims that the software and hardware they have supplied can work together to accomplish this but this remains to be seen in the prototypes of the unit.

f9d85ffcf7d30197bbcec5ed946723f6_large

Diagram of Immersis Optics

As you can see, there isn’t a whole lot of information about how this is being accomplished provided by Immersis however the concept seems pretty simple.  The only issue we see with this is that there doesn’t appear to be any cooling designed into the projector part of the unit, we’re sure that Immersis has plans for this though.

Hardware aside, Immersis says that they have all of the software ready for this product to be able to project onto different angles and wall distances and still maintain focus.  It can support plugins for the unreal engine that allow it to take your TV’s size and location into account and fill in the rest of the picture of any game running the engine around the TV.  We’re sure compatibility with other game engines will come in the future but already having compatibility for one of the most popular game engines currently in use is pretty impressive.  Obviously any other details about the software are currently confidential and we won’t likely have any more information on it until the product launches.

We think that the Immersis is going to be a truly immersive way of doing virtual reality and the fact that you don’t have to wear a helmet that makes you dizzy or nauseous is really revolutionary.

Currently however, the price for such a cool piece of hardware is going to cost a pretty penny.  Currently for pre-backers of the product on kickstarter the price is $1,200.  Once this product hits production the price is going to increase to $2,500 so if you’re interested in one you should grab it while the price is low.

Here is a link to the kick-starter page so that you can check out this product for yourself – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/catopsys/immersis?ref=nav_search

Posted on

Are Laser Picos making a comeback?

featured_image

This week is CES 2015 and lots of new technology is being shown and demoed every day.  The stuff that we’re interested about obviously is the projector technologies, and there were a few notable products announced that are making it look like it will be a great year for Pico projector growth.  We’ll be covering all of the cool (and not so cool) products that were announced in the coming blogs but for now we’re going to be covering something that we haven’t seen development on in a while.  A Laser Pico projector engine.  We’ve seen growth in the laser engines due to they’re popularity in theater applications in full-sized projectors however that growth has not been shared with the Pico side of the market until now.

Don’t get us wrong there have been laser Picos in the past, a few notable ones were the AAXA Technologies L1/L2 and the Microvision SHOWWX mini laser projectors.  All three of those projectors had decent brightness and the ability to have complete image focus even on un-even surfaces; however one thing that they definitely do suffer from is low resolutions.  Syndiant, the creator of a new laser engine, claims to have a 720p imaging unit ready for use in an LCOS 3-laser engine that can produce a bright, clear, and High Definition image that is in focus at any distance.  They also claim that the colors created by the unit will be very close If not “photo quality” and that is definitely something that we’re interested in.

aaxa_l1_laser_projector

The AAXA L1

41044f8ea2d2e4040

The Microvision Showwx

                Syndiant is one of the leaders in micro LCOS displays, specifically high definition ones, so the imaging unit that they plan to use with the engine (SYL2271) is no news to the industry however they have teamed up with Cremotech, another leader in the industry dealing in laser engines, to create what is currently the most powerful laser Pico engine on the market.

LCOS_img_2

An LCOS imaging unit

            Lasers have pros and cons to the LED engines mostly though it comes down to size and cost.  The LED engines tend to run larger as the LED diodes must be large to create as much light as they do therefore the actual unit needs to be larger where the Laser diodes can be very small but also much more expensive than LEDs.  The lasers fit into the imaging unit at a surprisingly small size of 50.5 mm by 48.1 mm by 19.85 mm, which can allow for extremely small units in the future.

Laser_diode_chip

A laser diode used in Pico Projectors, compared to the eye in a sewing needle.

                One of our favorite improvements made by Cremotech is the “speckle-free” laser engine.  For those of you who have used a laser projector before they tend to have a glitter and sometimes what looks like dead pixels as the laser unit is creating the image.  Cremotech claims to have created a technology that can avoid this, allowing for an LED quality image while still being a fraction of the size.

10yl5ll

The difference between a regular laser engine and a speckle free engine.

Unfortunately that’s about all the information we have on the new engine coming from the Syndiant/Cremotech partnership, right now this is looking like it will be a lower cost unit allowing for a Pico somewhere in the $300-$500 range which isn’t too bad considering some LED models are still over $500.  Syndiant has not released production dates on the engine yet however we’re guessing that you’ll start seeing this engine in full production by next year or early 2017.  We’ll keep you guys updated as more information on engines like this come out and we’re definitely excited to see if any competing engines come out of the woodwork because that only means more Laser Pico projectors.

Source: http://www.wkrg.com/story/27760116/syndiant-selected-by-cremotech-and-sk-telecom-for-its-laser-hd-pico-projector

Posted on

Circret, a pico projector for your arm, the next generation of smart watch?

zrzut-ekranu-2014-11-27--f87dd8f,630,0,0,0 (1)

When Google glass was released it seemed like the future was upon us and that finally we were going to be seeing all the things that were promised to us by the year 2000 by all the sci-fi movies of the 60’s and 70’s, hover cars, holograms, computerized glasses, and if we were lucky maybe even light sabers.  So you can understand our excitement when we recently heard about a new product, Cicret, that makes Google glass look bulky and hard to use.

safe_image

Circret, looks very similar to a bio-reading bracelet, the kind that you would use with your smartphone to track biometrics such as heart rate and calories burned; however once you see what is lurking in this small bracelet you will definitely be impressed.  Inside is a multitude of smart phone components that allow the Circret to run android on its own without a connected device and it displays its screen to you by projecting an image onto your forearm with a Pico projector.

watchga-820x420

By use of various sensors and inputs the smart bracelet is able to actually determine touch input and allow you to use the projected image just like you would a tablet or any other device running android.  There is a WIFI chip included in it which makes us think that Wi-Fi-calling capability may be available with the Circret however there has been no announcement for this and in the diagram there is no included microphone.  Either way, having a Wi-Fi-connected computer on your arm could be very useful, allowing you to browse the internet or watch videos easily; it would also be good for taking notes or even just viewing your grocery list while you’re at the store.

The Circret does include Bluetooth connectivity, so even though it can process the entire android experience on its own this may allow it to receive text/call notifications and alert you when someone is trying to reach you on your phone.

Here is an exploded view of the Circret to give you a better idea of what makes this thing run:

stuff-600x330

Of course what we are most interested in here is the projector, although not much information has been released on it, based on the size and amount of power it could be receiving we don’t believe it can be very bright.  We estimate that it would probably be somewhere around 5-10 lumens which would be very dim in the daylight but could probably display a small image at a short throw on someone’s arm in a darker environment.  Obviously no resolution or projection technology specs have been released at this point so there isn’t a whole lot to go off of, once we have a better idea of what kind of engine this product may be running we’ll let you guys know as we’re sure that technology like this is going to be applied to way more than just the Circret.

The Circret currently does not have a release date and the company would like to remind everyone that they have not released this product yet so to not be fooled this holiday season by scammers claiming to have early access to this product.  Another important thing to note is that Circret is not using any sort of public funding for their product; they say this is because there is no guarantee of a product with public funding and with something this different from anything else out there they don’t want to disappoint a whole slew of people.

Here is a simulated video of the Circret in use so that you can see the general concept of the product, hopefully more news on this product gets released soon as we’re pretty curious about the actual specs and how visible this product will be.  If it’s as bright as they claim, an optical engine of this size could be a big game changer for the Pico projector market.

Plus, for those of you that are Futurama fans out there, you can finally own a bracelet like Leela’s.

Leela-wristband

Posted on

Aerial Burton, the worlds first screen-less projector, holograms are real.

3D-hologram-shark-advertisement-thumb

Anyone who has seen star wars knows what a hologram is:

Star-Wars-holograph

 

 

For most of us it’s something that we thought we would never actually see in our lifetime, however the researchers at a Japanese optics company called “Aerial Burton” have come out with a projector that can project images into the air without the aide of a screen.  Although the technology is still closely guarded by the company the basic concept of how the projector works has been revealed, we’ll be reviewing how it works today and going over some cool usages that we thought of for technology like this.

The projector used is simply a laser projector mounted to project straight up.  There is also another laser projector integrated into the unit that uses infrared light which not visible to the human eye to create a “layer” of light.  When the normal laser hits the points of infrared it forces the laser light to redirect and become visible, just creating an image.  In theory this doesn’t sound very hard, but it took researchers almost 4 years to get this technology right and even now its pretty choppy.

laser

x4tvcdbqforsb5k0ucps

This is still a very early stage of the technology and its definitely something that is going to be improved upon, perhaps even to the point where there are things like color and possibly even high definition images that can be projected straight into the air.  Just like with any other projection technology, it starts out pretty weak and slowly improves over the course of a couple of years, but down the road the difference is unbelievable.  We saw this kind of improvement with pico projector technology, when they first started they were honestly no better than a dim flashlight.  They had poor resolutions and were barely visible even in the dark, nowadays pico projectors can rival full sized projectors and in some cases have an even better image quality.  This is just an attestation to what kind of improvements we could see with this laser technology in the near future, once other companies start jumping into the mix we feel that it’s only going to speed up improvement.

As for usage of technology like this, the possibilities seem endless.  Ranging from advertisements, 3D modeling, in-car displays, to home theater are just a few options that we can think of.  Imagine a world without billboards, instead of huge boards that have to be maintained by teams of people a simple 3D projection could be used instead, I mean hey according to back to the future we should have had this already.

3D-hologram-shark-advertisement-thumb

 

Many newer sports cars are coming with projection technology built in, they project statistics of the car such as RPM, Speed, or even Navigation directly onto the windshield.  With technology like this the same display could be viewed more clearly floating over the dashboard, and since the screen size would be variable, different types of information would be able to be displayed at the same time such as media information, climate control, and even vehicle statistics such as OBDII information.

Although it’s a long way off, if technology like this got to a point where it could create high definition images there’s a good chance that it would replace many TV’s and regular projectors in the home theater market.  Imagine having a 3D, high definition, re-sizable image that could be used to play your favorite movies, video games, and even just watch TV.  If it was used as a computer monitor then something like this could even be used as a 3D modeling tool, since the image it creates is in true 3D it would give modelers a better idea of the size and dimensions of the model they are making.

For now we’re going to have to live with a flashing butterfly image as the best thing that this projector can produce.  It’s going to be a little while before we can get images of Princess Leia floating around asking for help.

48095

 

Now all we have to do is wait for light sabers we’ll finally be able to live out any Star Wars fanatics dream, oh wait.  MIT/Harvard recently discovered technology for this: http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/09/29/mit-harvard-scientists-accidentally-create-real-life-lightsaber/

Maybe the future is closer than we think.

For now here is a video explaining how the 3D screenless projector works and what Aerial Burton has planned for the future.

 

Posted on

Epson is emerging with a new projector full sized projector… and its a laser unit.

good_brochure

Upcoming at the CEDIA convention Epson is planning to announce a full-sized projector that is definitely a game changer.

 

 

It will be called the “Pro Cinema LS10000” and it will be powered by a 4k laser, although it will be supporting 1080p at max for this model there are a couple of interesting features that the LS10000 has to offer. The first is it’s contrast ratio, Epson claims that it has such a high contrast ratio that it cannot be named with a number. Instead they deem it as 1:AbsoluteBlack, which is something that we heard with Plasma TVs. This is definitely interesting because with any projector there has always been an issue with creating black images due to the ambient light from the rest of the image, since laser projectors don’t leak light it allows the picture to be crisp and have very accurate colors.

Another interesting thing about Laser projectors is that they lack the need to focus, it doesn’t matter if you point it at a corner or bend the image, all parts of the image will always stay in focus at any distance.

(Laser projectors are often used for projecting onto buildings or un-even surfaces due to their superior focus abilities)

Epson claims that this unit is going to be priced under $8,000 which is their first premium custom home installation product under $10,000. It is aimed to compete with JVC’s D-ILA home theater products which until now has been a market basically run by JVC.

Reviews on the LS10000 are not really available at this time but as the convention approaches people who were lucky enough to get their hands on a test unit are sure to be coming out with product reviews on this projector, we’ll be following up with the public response and some more information on this projector after CEDIA. Let us know what you think in the comments!

(What the LS10000 is planned to look like)

Posted on

New Optima 1080P Classroom Projector

Optoma EH200ST

The education market is a growing market for the projector industry. This is partly because projectors have become less expensive, take up less space and are more portable. Short throw projectors have become all the rage as classrooms don’t have to project from above  taking up the middle of the room and having a maintenance person install the projector. Short throw projectors can be set up in front or behind the projector and can take up minimal space to produce the same size image as a traditional camera at a shorter distance.

Today Optoma has released a projector to solve the class room problem. The Optoma EH200ST projector has a bright 2,800 lumen lamp, usable in even lighted conditions, built-in speakers and a short throw lens which gives a 100-inch picture from 3 yards away. It has two HDMI inputs and can be turned into a smart display by connecting a smartphone or tablet with a single cable using MHL to play games, stream videos and share images on the big screen.

Short throw projectors are now trying to take over the space that pico, micro, mini and pocket projectors like the AAXA P4X and the ViewSonic PLED-W200 have carved out in the market by providing a heavier, but more robust display and audio experience to the consumer.