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Displays Technology

The Pocket-Sized Projector Has Arrived 220

Posted by timothy
from the wistful-longing-fills-my-chest-cavity dept.
mallumax writes "David Pogue of New York Times has reviewed the Pico, which is a pocket projector from Optoma. The review is quite entertaining (Pogue projects the images on to a plane's ceiling, leaving passengers baffled) and detailed. The highlights are: It is a pocket-sized projector which runs on batteries and can project images and videos from a variety of sources like iPhone, iPod and DVD players with a 480x320px resolution, with a maximum screen size of 65 inches at 8.5 feet. It uses a non-replaceable 10,000 hour LED lamp and a DLP chip from Texas Instruments. The battery lasts for 90 minutes and can be recharged through USB or with its own power cord. The device weighs 115g and comes with an inbuilt speaker which is practically useless. If you want one, it will set you back by $430."
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The Pocket-Sized Projector Has Arrived

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  • AC/DC (Score:5, Funny)

    by uvajed_ekil (914487) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @02:27PM (#25664397)
    Angus Young has already said he wants one. Something about it having its very own power chord, I guess.
  • The Pico I remember used laser diodes, not just a LED light.

    The lasers allow much greater efficiency - traditional projectors, like LCD Monitors, actually use more energy to display black, because it has to activate the cells to block light.

    In this case, the lasers just shut off, reducing power usage to what's actually needed to make the image, not to make a full while screen all the time.

    • by camperdave (969942) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @03:29PM (#25665247) Journal
      traditional projectors, like LCD Monitors, actually use more energy to display black, because it has to activate the cells to block light.

      That may be true in LCD shutter technologies, such as an LCD monitor. This baby uses DLP technology, which is essentially a chip covered in tiny steerable mirrors. To produce black, they simply aim the mirror off-screen. It costs essentially no more energy to produce black vs any other color.
      • This baby uses DLP technology, which is essentially a chip covered in tiny steerable mirrors. To produce black, they simply aim the mirror off-screen. It costs essentially no more energy to produce black vs any other color.

        Then gray must be even harder because it has to aim the mirrors back and forth rapidly.

        • by Firethorn (177587)

          I imagine the power costs of the DLP mirror chip to be negligible. Heck, even energy needed to black LCD cells isn't much compared to the backlight.

          Not to mention that you're still throwing away, on average, over 50% of the light you're producing. While LEDs are more efficient that current generation lasers, it doesn't overcome that.

          The projector I remember is both smaller(matchbox sized) and brighter.

    • by eh2o (471262)

      Interesting, How do they deal with the speckle problem created by the coherent light source?

      • by Firethorn (177587)

        Never having seen it actually in use, I couldn't say. Could be that they deliberately detune it a bit when it goes through the combiner.

        After that it works a lot like a CRT monitor, constantly redrawing the screen.

      • Dunno for sure, but there are a few ways to deal with the problem, most of which are covered under patents, of course. Basically the idea is to quickly (i.e. above 30 Hz or so) vary the phase of the light over a wide area so your eye doesn't have time to perceive the speckle.
  • 'nuf said (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fermion (181285) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @02:56PM (#25664785) Homepage Journal
    Or you can lie in bed and point the thing straight up. In a dark room, you'll have yourself a huge, bright movie playing on the ceiling.
    • by Abcd1234 (188840)

      I take it the ceilings in your home aren't stippled to reduce echos?

    • by b4dc0d3r (1268512)
      You can emulate mirrors on the ceiling with this thing and a decent webcam. I am so buying this, a webcam, and some c14715 or v14gr4.
    • Ha, I've done this with my regular video projector. It's a little tricky to prop up a regular-sized projector correctly because they're a little heavy and the cords come out the back, but I found that I could use a couple of screws to mount it vertically to a heavy base designed for a LCD television. If you have a wall-mounted LCD TV, then you probably have one of these bases sitting around since they all come with one, and you have to remove it to wall-mount the TV.
  • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @03:01PM (#25664869)

    Pogue projects the images on to a plane's ceiling, leaving passengers baffled.

    Then he spent some quality time with the Air Marshall and DHS ...

  • Nice (Score:3, Insightful)

    by clarkkent09 (1104833) * on Thursday November 06, 2008 @03:06PM (#25664943)
    I'm not exactly a gadget freak but I have to say I do want one of these (not at this price though). With the ability to store a whole bunch of video on a tiny device and the major problem of having to watch it on the little screen, this seems to fill the gap nicely. You just need a flat surface (as the review says, back of the seat in front of you on a plane or whatever) and you can watch it comfortably. And it still fits in your pocket. Why isn't everybody making them?
  • by Hangtime (19526) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @03:08PM (#25664971) Homepage

    for those around here that remember 1998, the Rio PMP300 was the 2nd but the most important MP3 player that came on the market. Not exactly ripping it up at 32 MB of RAM but an important introduction nonetheless and ultimately led to Creative and then Apple following with their MP3 players. Given that, in 10 years we may all have them on our key chains next to the USB terabyte drives.

    • by rolfwind (528248)

      We'll be at the terabyte USB stick within 5 years, if not sooner. 2 years ago, I got a Micro Cruzer for $40 at Walmart. Today, a 8GB cost $25 there and a 16GB $60 (43 at amazon). At that rate, in 2 years, it will be at 256GB and it's just a hop and skip to 1TB then.

  • Baffled (Score:5, Funny)

    by terbo (307578) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @03:09PM (#25664981) Journal

    "The people on the plane were baffled when they saw *porn* on the ceiling . ." and you thought cell phones were annoying when they came out . .

  • 3M did it first. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Facegarden (967477) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @03:10PM (#25664993)

    3M makes and sells a very pocketable battery powered projector already. It has been for sale for a couple of months. Has better specs too, and it's cheaper. I'm not sure why we have articles that ignore stuff like this. I know we can't be experts on everything, but man, the author couldn't do a quick google search for pico projectors?
    -Taylor

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Not to mention it's cheaper too [pcnation.com].
    • by puppetman (131489)

      Actually, the 3M is a bit bigger...

      The size of the 3M version is 11.5 x 5 x 2.2 cm (that's about 5 inches by 2 inches by .8 inches for those who haven't evolved).

      The Optima is "2 by 4.1 by 0.7 inches, weighing 4.2 ounces."

      What we need is a head to head by a reputable, unbiased website.Like Gamespot maybe. [gamespot.com]

      • Actually, the 3M is a bit bigger...

        The size of the 3M version is 11.5 x 5 x 2.2 cm (that's about 5 inches by 2 inches by .8 inches for those who haven't evolved).

        The Optima is "2 by 4.1 by 0.7 inches, weighing 4.2 ounces."

        What we need is a head to head by a reputable, unbiased website.Like Gamespot maybe. [gamespot.com]

        Well, i said pocketable, not smaller. It's .9 inches longer and .1 inches thicker. For a higher resolution image and $100 less, i'll deal with the added size.
        But actually, the dell pico projector suits my needs more than any of these, even though it's larger. As soon as it drops back down to $400 (i saw it for ONE DAY recently, but i was broke), i'm going to get one.
        -Taylor

    • Re:3M did it first. (Score:4, Informative)

      by scharkalvin (72228) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @04:25PM (#25665941) Homepage

      Link is here:
      http://www.3mmpro.com/

    • by jimicus (737525)

      3M makes and sells a very pocketable battery powered projector already. It has been for sale for a couple of months. Has better specs too, and it's cheaper. I'm not sure why we have articles that ignore stuff like this. I know we can't be experts on everything, but man, the author couldn't do a quick google search for pico projectors?
      -Taylor

      And according to The Register, it's borderline unusable. [reghardware.co.uk]

      (Got to admire how a product which by their own admission "The first unit sent was nigh on impossible to use, because the cable had to be held in some impossible position to get a picture. The second unit involved a similar palaver but, with the aid of a tripod and a few books to support the cable, once a picture had been established it would remain, so long as you didnâ(TM)t touch it." still gets 50%)

    • by Zone-MR (631588) *

      Seems the 3M projector got featured on /. too.

      http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/09/15/0046201 [slashdot.org]

      "The pocket-size projector has arrived" ... again.

  • by SpaceLifeForm (228190) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @03:18PM (#25665119)
    While vi became vim, this is a huge jump in functionality for Pico [wikipedia.org]
  • by TofuMatt (1105351) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @03:25PM (#25665193) Homepage

    No HD, no wireless, no shaver. Lame.

    This is where's it's at. [pomegranatephone.com]

  • New Uses (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cowtamer (311087) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @03:37PM (#25665359) Journal

    This opens up entirely new uses for a projector for the nerdy crowd:

    Some examples/ideas:
      * Projector tiling [64.233.169.104]
      * Cheap, portable 3D Scanning [ercim.org]
      * Real-time photo sharing (obvious)
      * Portable video-conferencing, telepresence (think projector-screen-like avatars around the screen with a tiny projector attached to each of them)
      * Pseudo-Invisibility!! (Think helmet-mounted camera, white t-shirt, dorky looking wearable projector mount)
      * Head-Mounted Projector applications (other types of invisibility, "Virtual Cockpit", freaking people out at night clubs, etc.)

    • by 4D6963 (933028)

      Pfft. I'll be plugging it to a handheld console and project Asteroids or Pac-Man.

      Antiquated classic fun video games + the bleeding edge of portable technology = teh win.

  • A power chord... (Score:3, Informative)

    by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @03:38PM (#25665377) Journal
    ...is a note played on an electric guitar played simultaneously with the note whose frequency is approximately 50% higher. The simple ratio means you get nice interaction between harmonics, even when the guitar is heavily distorted. They're very popular with many guitarists and are easy to play. Bands ranging from Hawkwind to Nirvana made/make great use of them. They don't usually come with projectors.
  • 9 lumens. 9. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Phanatic1a (413374) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @03:40PM (#25665395)

    When it goes on sale in two weeks, it will give parents a completely portable backseat-of-the-minivan movie theater for the kids.

    Sure, provided you're driving at night, or with all the windows painted over.

  • Great! (Score:5, Funny)

    by T.E.D. (34228) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @03:45PM (#25665457)

    Now you'll be able to tell the geeks, because they will be the ones with the pocket-projectors.

  • Small data error (Score:3, Informative)

    by rehtonAesoohC (954490) on Thursday November 06, 2008 @03:54PM (#25665579) Journal
    TFA states that it's a 20,000 hour bulb, not 10,000 as the summary suggests.

    Just FYI.
    • by antic (29198)

      Might be wrong, but I think typical projector bulbs are usually replaced after they reach their half-way point. Might've confused someone.

  • A spell checker can be your best friend, but sometimes your friends will betray you.
    1. A power chord [wikipedia.org] is a note plus the note a fifth above, usually played on electric guitar.
    2. A power cord [wikipedia.org] is a cord or cable that temporarily connects an electrical appliance to the distribution circuits of an electrical power source via a wall socket or extension cord.
  • I'm probably going to wait until I can get one with a pocket projector protector.
  • I was looking at the information on the I saw the "throw distance" of 1.9...
    and I started to think that this device could only be throw 1.9 meters and how I could totally throw it further.

  • I remember that the guys behind the beagleboard wanted to build a portable mini projector... Is this what they were building?

  • So screw LED sign of Ignignok or Er in an odd location. This projector + Smallest iPod w/video + reasonable sized external battery pack, and you have "terrorist" device that will have Boston PD shitting themselves! Porn will be everywhere!!!

    Video graffiti!!!

"It's like deja vu all over again." -- Yogi Berra

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