Could all the Golden-i wearable computer need to be more consumer-friendly be a dashing hat? Probably not quite - after all, there's still the rather noticeable eyepiece to take into account - but William Gerwin's Kodak Sponsored Studio project does do a better job at removing some of the geek-factor to a wearable system.
Slapping a pico-projector module into a phone isn't exactly new, but Samsung's Beam I8520 is perhaps the first that has us truly tempted. The smartphone - formerly known by its "Halo" codename - ticks plenty of the boxes many shop for handsets by: it runs Android 2.1 on a 3.7-inch Super AMOLED display with capacitive touchscreen, and has an 8.1-megapixel camera on the back complete with an LED flash. On top of Android Samsung have used their TouchWiz 3.0 UI, and while we've never been especially big fans - in comparison to other manufacture-specific software environments - the whole thing moves along at a decent lick of speed.
Of course, the real interest here is the integrated pico-projector. Samsung have used a Texas Instruments DLP module running at WVGA resolution, just like the Beam's own AMOLED display, and it's triggered by holding down a button on the right-hand side. Whatever's on the main display can be projected, and the Beam's pico has a 6 lumen brightness rating.
Of all the advancements in smartphones and feature phones over the last year or so, one of the most exciting is the integration of pico projectors inside mobile phones. Adding a projector inside a mobile phone opens a new world of viewing possibilities for mobile games and video.
There is a lot to like about pico projectors in theory, but in use, they leave a lot to be desired with the tech available today. The promise of a pico projector is that you can take them anywhere with minimal bulk and watch films or give presentations with a larger viewable image. The big issue with every pico projector I have used is that they aren’t bright enough.
Pico-projector company AAXA have outed their latest model, and the L1 carves a niche for itself by using LCoS laser technology rather than the more usual DLP. The AAXA L1 is capable of projecting up to a 20-lumens 50-inch picture at 800 x 600 resolution, and thanks to the lasers it's all focus-free: no frustrating focus wheel to twiddle, just point and go. In fact it can even project clearly onto curved surfaces.
Mobile World Congress 2010 is fast approaching, but here at SlashGear we thought we'd grab a head start on our coverage. We caught up with Texas Instruments at their Dallas office to take a look at their latest OMAP3 and OMAP4 chipsets and some of the development hardware they've been producing. Most interesting, perhaps, is the OMAP4-based device you see here, capable of simultaneously driving three independent displays and packing a pico-projector module.
Texas Instruments is the company behind the massively successful DLP technology that is found in all sorts of TVs and projectors in the electronics world. Today TI has announced a new product aimed at developers that are incorporating DLP technology into light processing applications. The new dev kit is called the DLP LightCommander.
Light Blue Optics launched their Light Touch projected display technology back at CES 2010, but the majority of the video demos we saw were performed in relatively low-light environments. Obviously the team are braver now, since they've taken their prototype - which uses a laser projector to create an image, and sensors to track finger-movement around that image - over to show to Robert Scoble.
Pico-projectors continue to weasel their way into other gadgets, and next up could be the humble laptop. According to Monty Wong, vice president and manager of personal computing systems group at HP Taiwan, HP are planning to release a pico-projector equipped notebook that would likely have the projection module where normally the webcam is positioned.
Could AT&T be ramping up to begin shipping the pico-projector accessory for the LG eXpo? The smartphone went on sale December 7th, and is currently sold-out at AT&T's online store, but buyers have been left waiting for the optional snap-on projector; however at least one reviewer over at Geek Zone has received their sample unit.