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Is the apple watch a place for a projector?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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!

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

 

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

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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.

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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.


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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.

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

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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

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Immersis, VR without a helmet that everyone can experience.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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

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Celluon Releases PicoPro Laser Pico Projector

We spoke about how laser projectors may be making a comeback in our last post, this time, we have actual evidence of it!

Celluon is releasing their PicoPro, a small ultraportable projector that incorporates laser projection to provide an infinite focus image that is very vibrant in it’s colors.  The unit is roughly 1″ thick, gives you an HD resolution of 1280×720, and 2-3 hours of battery.

The contrast ratio is what really perks our ears up, 80,000:1, a traditional LED projector is in the neighborhood of 1000-2000:1, so this is a dramatic improvement for sure.

Pricing isn’t announced quite yet but is expected within the first half of the year.

For more information on the PicoPro, visit http://celluon.com/products_picopro_overview.php

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Are Laser Picos making a comeback?

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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.

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The AAXA L1

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Akyumen Announces a 50 Lumen Windows Tablet, powered by Intel Atom

Akyumen, a small company that recently started getting into consumer electronics, is stepping up their presence by creatinig a Windows-based Intel Atom tablet.  This tablet is primarily geared towards education, the idea that kids can have one of these at their table and easily pull up information and share ideas and content with classmates.

There’s not a whole lot of solid information on the tablet quite yet, they’re expecting to roll it out around the first quarter of 2015.  They’re also saying it could be a good hit with gamers, having a game on your tablet and easily being able to push a button and start projecting it onto the wall could be something a lot of people would pay for.

Here’s a full breakdown of the specs of the tablet:

Operating System: Windows
Processor: Intel Atom Processor
Storage: 64GB of SSD
Camera: 8MP Sensor
RAM: 8GB

With those kinds of specs theres a real possibility for this to be a solid product, it gives it enough oomph to really have performance needed for gaming or other heavy tasks.

The projector side of things is a DLP chipset, they’re claiming around 100-plus inches at 720P quality, it has a 50 lumen sensor.  We’re very interested to see if the projection is useful or is it just a gimmick?

Are you guys excited for this?  It sounds fairly interesting we think.

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Pixelworks Enters Agreement to License the VueMagic Mobile Presenter to BenQ

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BenQ has long been known for good quality projectors at slightly higher prices, this will hopefully change with the news that BenQ will now have access to Pixelwork’s VueMagic for their systems.  VueMagic is a display technology that brings enhanced functionality like wireless and streaming to any device.  This is something that has long been sought after by many companies, the idea of putting a portable projector into your bag and being able to stream wirelessly to it, no need for cables.

Features like these will definitely add value to the projectors, which should increase sales across the board for BenQ.  If other companies follow suit, who knows where the features will be in 2-3 years.

“We are excited to announce our expanded partnership with BenQ, a leader in the projection display market, as well as their licensing of VueMagic Mobile Presenter as the basis for QPresenter Pro,” said Graham Loveridge, Sr. Vice President of Strategic Marketing and Business Development at Pixelworks. “The cooperation between BenQ and Pixelworks is targeted at enhancing the projected viewing experience while also improving meeting collaboration and mobile flexibility.”

Does anyone else still use a BenQ Pocket Projector?  We are always looking for new models but BenQ has been making them slower and slower these days, hopefully we get some good stuff as a result of this deal!

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

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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