Monthly Archives: July 2012

Samsung Galaxy Beam – Battery Results for 1st Smartphone With Pico Projector

You would think that a built-in Pico Projector would just kill a battery in an hour or two. Frankly I would assume the battery would be done within minutes considering my Motorola Atrix 4G lasts about 2-3 hours with the network settings on and playing a game. The team over at GSM Arena has put the Galaxy Beam through its paces and tested the battery in multiple areas such as video playback, idle time, and most importantly projections. The team found that the battery was surprisingly resilient.

The Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam is fairly unique as it includes a pico projector embedded and a 2000 mAh battery. Almost as big as the Galaxy 3 battery. The 4” LCD and dual-core processor don’t stress the battery too much.  On talk time it did well shooting for around 9 hours.

Talk Time for the Galaxy Beam
Talk Time for the Galaxy Beam

Video playback also put it in a really good spot to be a top contender phone if people don’t mind the extra bulkiness with the projector they can get a pocket cinema inside your phone, which is convenient because you’ll always carry that on your person as a necessary tool.

This graph displays a comparison on video playback based on battery life
The Beam placing pretty high for a phone with a packed in projector

The most impressive aspect I thought was that the projector had considerable idle time while projecting. This literally means that the processor is rendering video, projecting, and powering the screen and still managing to pull 3-4 hours of playtime from a single charge. Pretty impressive for a phone that is not getting much buzz from the general public. As the GSM Arena writers state:

We also tested how long the phone will last while watching movies with the built-in projector (Samsung is promising up to 3 hours or runtime). We set the projector at 100% brightness (the projector is rated at 15 lumen) and kept the screen on (its brightness was set to 50%). The Galaxy Beam surpassed Samsung’s official estimates – we waited 3 hours and 54 minutes before the phone threw in the towel.

This is probably some of the best results I’ve seen on a phone. Let alone a phone that comes packed with a projector. Although on web browsing it doesn’t do as good, it’s true appeal has to be the projection package. We also learned that the projector will ship with a spare battery and spare battery charger. that’s a lot to convince anyone to jump on this emerging technology early.


Using Pico Projectors to Control your Objects in you House!

Imagine being able to turn on a light in your house or transfer data using a pico projector. That is exactly the work of Domink Schmidt, a post-doctoral researcher at the Human Interaction Lab in Potsdam, Germany who partnered up with Microsoft Research to make this happen.

Very literally they have turned ideas into reality by taking an off-the-shelf laser pico projector (Microvision ShowWX™) and using its projection engine to interact with distant objects using only light! Sounds great right? It is called PICOntrol and how it functions is by projecting an image onto objects, such as a lamp, and allows the user to remotely turn the lamp on or off.  It gets even better. Through PICOntrol, the user can remotely input information, such as telephone numbers, email addresses, select multimedia content, and even control objects such as robots .  Dr. Schmidt’s work may have ended the downward spiral that laser based pico projectors have been experiencing given the present trend towards brighter, cheaper LED projection technology.


Check the video, I highly recommend it.


Japanese Researchers Invent Bubble Projection Screen

Tokyo, Japan –  Researchers at the University of Tokyo have developed a system that uses such bubbles as kind of projection screen based on colloidal liquids. The bubbles are made of a thin film, and allow light to create a reflection on one section before passing through other sections. Researchers found that if the reflection can be controlled, then the bubble can be used as a display.

At the core of the ingenuity at work here is the use of ultrasound to manipulate the way the surface of these bubbles work. The membrane screen is controlled using ultrasonic vibrations, which are played out of speakers and can change the membrane’s transparency and texture depending on the scale of the sound.

A device makes the membranes automatically. With the aid of the projector and ultrasonic speakers, the system alters the appearance of these membranes by controlling their color, transparency and BRDF (Bidirectional Reflectance Distribution Function).

Researchers  found that they can greatly improve  the quality of the projection by manipulating the ultra sonic waves, creating more realistic, distinctive, and vivid images on screen, the researchers said. “This system contributes to open up a new path for display engineering with sharp imageries, transparency, BRDF and flexibility,” said lead researcher Yoichi Ochiai.

The ingredients of the bubble the Japanese researchers have created include sugar, glycerin, soap, surfactant, water and milk. These result in a resistant colloid bubble that cannot be easily popped as even solid objects can pass through it without popping it. What’s more, by combining more than one screen, it is possible to create a kind of 3D or holographic effect.

The research team says the screen could be useful for visual artists but is not yet ready for commercial integration. We think this would make an excellent pairing with an equally small pico projector. AAXA? Optoma? 3M? Any takers?

Source: Yoichi Ochiai














Pixelworks announces New SOC for Next Gen Projectors


Pixelworks announced that it has begun shipping a new SoC that is targeting next-generation, mainstream LCD or DLP projectors for the education, business and home theater segments. The Topaz SoC supports a high 1080p and WUXGA (1920 x1200) resolutions as well as standard and non-standard 3D content, including 3D format decoding with a universal 3D glasses interface.

The SoC also comes with a video decoder that supports 8/10 bit analog inputs or HDMI/DVI digital inputs (HDMI 1.3, 1.4 3D), a USB 2.0 host controller, Ethernet MAC, an on-screen display menu controller and an ARM9 processor to enable projector vendors to use  customized applications.

Pixelworks senior vice president Graham Loveridge stated:

“Current projector technology is undergoing a significant transition as more diverse and sophisticated applications become available, creating expanded opportunities for our newest family of products.The evolution in illumination engines and light source technology is migrating from traditional lamp-based light sources to LED and laser technologies, which will enable a lower cost of ownership as well as more compact and portable designs.”

Pixelworks did not reveal any products that may include its new SoC. However, their announcement of this such technology only reaffirms the massive growth so many expect from the pico projector market.

NC State University finds a way to make Picos smaller and more efficient


Researchers from North Carolina State University and ImagineOptix Corporation have developed new technology to convert unpolarized light into polarized light, which makes projectors that use liquid crystal (LC) technology almost twice as energy efficient. The new technology has resulted in smaller, lower cost and more efficient projectors, meaning longer battery life and significantly lower levels of heat.


Researchers used the technology to create a small picoprojector, seen here, which could be embedded in a smartphone, tablet or other device. (Image courtesy of ImagineOptix Corp.)

The ImagineOptix-sponsored research team was also able to use the technology to create a small “pico projector,” which could be embedded in a smartphone, tablet or other device.

Dr. Michael Escuti, a researcher at North Carolina State comments on the commercial implications:

  “The commercial implications are broad reaching. Projectors that rely on batteries will be able to run for almost twice as long. And LC projectors  of all kinds can be made twice as bright but use the same amount of power that they do now. However, we can’t promise that this will make classes  and meetings twice as exciting.”

Because only approximately 10 percent of the unpolarized light is converted into heat – as opposed to the more than 50 percent light loss that stems from using conventional polarization filters – the new technology will also reduce the need for loud cooling fans and enable more compact designs. We’ve been a long-time fan of pico projectors here, so telling us that you have found a way to make them smaller, quieter, and brighter is good in our book.

The original article here.



Carnegie Mellon Researchers Reduce Headlight Glare through Projectors


Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they’re working on a solution that could make raindrops nearly invisible while lighting the road in front of you.

The problem Carnegie researchers are trying to solve is that headlight beams are reflected back at the driver when it rains, snows, sleets, et cetera. The brighter your headlights, the brighter the light is reflected back at you, and the harder it is to see the road ahead of you.

Carnegie’s researchers came up with a possible solution involves a camera, a digital light processing (DLP) projector, and a reflecting mirror, alongwith a computer to control the whole setup. As rain falls, the camera can detect individual raindrops and predict their velocity and trajectory. It sends that information to the projector, which projects a small black dot over each rain drop’s location. The result, researchers hope, is the ability to light in front of the car but not the raindrops, which would result in the most light output without returned glare.

As expected, it’s very difficult to detect individual raindrops and light around them. The system takes about 13 milliseconds to find raindrops and respond accordingly, so the top portion of the light beam would still hit the raindrops like a standard headlight. As it stands today, the system also works best at a speed of about 19 mph, where it’s 68.9 percent accurate at blacking out raindrops while still keeping over 95 percent light throughput. Drive faster and the system steadily loses accuracy. As you can see, it still is a ways off from mainstream implementation.

As we always say with futuristic tech like this, it’s going to be many years until we see something commercially viable that works like this. The system will need some big strides in digital light processing projector technology to work better,

Still, the idea of going from halogen bulbs to xenon to LED to DLP projector headlights is intriguing, and having two DLP projectors and two wide-angle cameras mounted to the front of your car would open up a whole new world of active headlights that could shift to avoid blinding oncoming traffic or pedestrians.

Who knows, maybe eventually we can project movies from those headlights.



Micron Technology announces the New Pop Projector

Micron Technology’s upcoming $99 Pop Video pico projector accessory may be the closest thing to for iPhone fans to have an integrated projector within their phone

Familiar to all Apple users is the 30-pin connector that allows you to dock your iPhone or iPod, connecting the projector add-on to the iPhone/iPod itself.

Micron Technology’s Pop Video Pico Projector.

Brookstone is offering up a similarly styled pico projector that’s simply called the Pocket Projector for iPhone 4, but its native resolution is lower (640 x 360 pixels) than the Pop Video’s (960 x 540 pixels) and the Brookstone accessory costs $229. While the Brookstone Pocket Projector has a very sleek sleeve design that envelops your iPhone, it is limited to the iPhone 4 only. (My iTouch was too wide to fit within the sleeve and my iPhone 4s was not compatible).

I am more excited about the Pop Video Pico Projector because so far, it seems it has the ability to connect to the entire Apple mobile ecosystem. Brightness for this projector is rated at a small 15 Lumens, making this projector more for entertainment rather than professional use. Here are the dimensions below:


  • Dimensions: 4.4 inches x 1.8 inches x .6 inch (HWD)
  • Weight: 3.5 ounces (97g)
  • Input: 30-pin dock connector
  • Video Output: qHD (960 x 540 pixel resolution)
  • Battery: Built-in Lithium-ion rechargeable battery
  • Playtime: Up to two hours with full battery charge
  • Charging: Micro-USB charging (1.2 compliant)
  • Charge time: About 4 hours
  • iOS version: 5.0 and greater
  • Compatible with iPhone 4/4S and gen-3 and 4 iPod Touch
  • Price: $99 (available for preorder now)


As for the light engine inside the Pop Video, Micron apparently uses something called FLCOS microdisplay technology, which is cheaper to produce and allegedly more energy efficient. (What the difference is between LCOS technology, I do not know yet).,

A strong direction for these types of projectors has always been tighter integration with the iPhone (and other smartphones eventually) that makes it much easier to project without attaching any huge cables but the limitations in connectivity and brightness keep these from become more than just toys. An innovative direction the projector is designed to be used with a free app that allows you to tweak the projector settings and more importantly, projector more content directly from your iPhone, including Web pages, Facebook, and videos downloaded from iTunes or iTunes U that are not MPEG 3 protected.

They have not yet posted a date for when they plan on releasing.