Category Archives: LED Technology

Leverage iPhone 6 Video Output Modes with a Pico Projector

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Now that the iPhone 6 has been out for a few months, we have noticed a whole bunch of users exploring different methods of utilizing its many features. One particular use has caught our eye, and it is using the iPhone 6 as a primary video output with an LED pico projector. With the influx of streaming apps and services, from Netflix, Hulu, and Youtube, to Chromecast, Kickflip, Liveleak, Ustream and more; streaming mobile video seems primed to take a bite out of cable’s stranglehold on live content. Anyone who has had to deal with cable companies customer service is ready to cut the cord, and this generation of mobile devices and applications are making it easier than ever.

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The iPhone 6 is a perfect example of a piece of hardware that can be used to set up a New Media Order, and provide users the flexibility of having a high definition video stream from anywhere. Now, couple it with a portable, powerful pico projector, and suddenly the iPhone 6 goes from having a 4″ screen to having a 100″ screen which you can display anywhere. Imagine setting up a rooftop movie night with your friends and being able to carry everything you need in your pocket. Or creating an impromptu marketing display you project onto any wall at will. Or setting up a “Face Time” conversation, Star Trek style, with a huge projection on the wall of your spaceship (or basement, whatever is available). There are limitless applications for the technology once people are aware of its capabilities and we would like to show you how easy it is to set up an iPhone 6 with a pico projector today.

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What do I need?

First, you will need an iPhone 6 and an Apple Lightning Digital A/V Adapter. The digital AV adapter is a critical piece of equipment which is what allows the iPhone to connect to a wide variety of devices using HDMI. Second, you will need an HDMI cable to connect from the adapter to whatever device you want to use your iPhone’s video output on. Third, you will need a pico projector, there are a wide variety to choose from but some of the industry leaders are AAXA Technologies, 3M, Optoma, and Phillips. Finally, you need a place to project your video, this can be a screen, a wall, a ceiling, or pretty much any flat, neutral surface.  The photo below demonstrates practically everything you need to amplify your iPhone’s screen size by 25x.

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For the purpose of our demonstration, we used an AAXA Technologies P3-X Pico Projector with native WVGA resolution and the ability to turn your 4″ iPhone screen into an 80″ screen. This is a an ideal projector because it very portable and at about 70 lumens, it runs quietly and without much heat thanks to the LED bulb technology. Also, it has a lithium ion battery which is good for about two hours of projection on a full charge. Plus, it can fit in your palm and only weighs about 10 oz pounds, making it portable enough to use practically anywhere.

Don’t just read it, see it!

Check out the video below for a demonstration of how to hook the projector up to an iPhone 6 to play Netflix, Youtube, Hulu or whatever. With technology like this, it makes cutting the cord and throwing away the TV an ever more realistic prospect.

 

Video Review of Lenovo Android Yoga 2 Pro Tablet (w/ Pico Projector)

All Hail the World’s (Second) Projection Tablet!

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We have been testing out the new Lenovo Android Yoga 2 Pro tablet in our office for a couple of weeks now, and we have been pleasantly surprised by its performance. The tablet itself has a wonderfully large 13.3″ screen which makes work/play easy on the eyes, it has insanely long battery life clocking in at about 15 hours and it is also the second tablet to offer a built in LED pico projector, which is what makes it interesting to us. The first tablet to include an LED pico projector was the Nokia LumiTab, which came out a couple of years ago. The LumiTab’s projector was really quite weak, and never really gained much traction with customers who were able to better satisfy their projection needs from existing devices on the market. Lenovo was hoping to change that with their new design, and make the “Tablet Projector” a thing going forward.

We decided to try something new in the office today and asked our intern to make a video review of the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro Tablet with a built in pico projector. Here is what he turned in, try not laugh:

As you can see, the tablet itself runs well, looks great, and . However, the projector aspect of the tablet just isn’t very strong. Perhaps we had a defective unit, because the focus slide on the tablet was almost impossible to work, and it would sometimes take 2-3 minutes of adjusting the slider to achieve a serviceable focus. It didn’t really have enough lumens to be effective in any situation with ambient light, and I wouldn’t ever try to project text using the tablet, it would just be too hard to read from any further than a few feet away. We are really interested in seeing more companies take the plunge to start including pico projectors in their tablets and laptops going forward. The technology is rapidly evolving, and it will only become smaller and cheaper in the next few years.

HP Sprout, an all in one design studio that can create basically anything.

The HP sprout is an innovative new product from HP that combines 3D scanning, Projecting, and computing all into one compact package that can fit on anyone’s desk.  Shaped like an apple iMac with a shower head coming out of the top, the HP Sprout is aesthetically pleasing while still maintaining great functionality.

 

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It sports an integrated 1000 lumen LED projector that reflects off of a mirror located in the object sticking off the top of the sprout and creates an image on the pad that sits in front of it.  This unit also contains stereoscopic cameras that can view and scan an object into a 3D model by setting them on the mat and rotating the object so the sprout can see all sides of it.

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The sprout is a powerful machine under the hood, sporting 8GB of DDR3 RAM running at 1600 mhz, an Intel i7 -4790s running at 3.2 GHz, and dual graphics cards (Intel HD 4600 and Nvidia Geforce 745A), the sprout seems almost more like a computer made for gaming than it was for design.  Not that this is a bad thing, specs like this basically guarantee that any 3D modeling or designing that you are doing with the sprout is going to happen smoothly and at a decent frame-rate/speed.  Unlike the Apple iMac the computer portion of the sprout is not located in the screen, instead it is located in a square casing that hangs off the back of the sprout, and although it’s not confirmed yet we think this is a good indication that the sprout will be expandable to a certain extent.  Although processor upgrades and graphics cards may be integrated to the main board upgrades such as Hard Drive Storage and RAM seem to be totally free game.

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For some people, having all of this technology integrated into one device may seem excessive however we feel that it’s a great integration of 3 useful technologies to make one solid product. There are loads of things that you could use the sprout for from designing a paper cup for a business all the way to re-manufacturing car parts.  The only thing we think that could make the sprout better would be to add a 3D printer, although this isn’t practical to do on a unit it’s size, having a external 3D printer would definitely expand the capabilities.  This about the cup example, you want to create a new cardboard cup for your coffee shop.  You go online and download a 3D model of a cup, you then 3D print the model and put the model on the mat in front of the sprout and project your design directly onto the cup so you can see how it will look before you even manufacture the cup.  Once you’re happy with the design print out the finished product and you have a full prototype that is ready for production in a matter of hours instead of days.  The same would apply to a car part or something that you don’t have a 3D model of, simply place it on the mat under the integrated 3D scanner and let the sprout see every side of it.  It  will then create a 3D model for you of the object and allow you to modify or print it out.

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These are two basic examples of the possibilities that the sprout has to offer, there are many many more possibilites that a device like this could offer especially with someone creative in front of it.  It still does come in at a fairly high price tag of $1,800 but this price is likely to go down over time and with new models that come out.  The sprout hasn’t had a great reception but we hope that it gets enough buyers to warrant making a new model, we haven’t seen anything this innovative in the computer industry in a very long time and are exited to see the uses that people put the sprout up to.

Keecker, the worlds first “Homepod” (And possibly the last)

We get most if not all of our projector news from people that we follow on twitter and recently we came across something very interesting.

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This is Keecker, noted as being the worlds first “Homepod”.  We had never heard of a “Homepod” before and were intrigued, what we found was definitely surprising, but we’re just not sure HOW useful it will be.  Keecker is shaped like an egg, it’s fairly large (About 2 feet tall and 3 feet around), and has wheels on the bottom that allow it to move.  It sports a 1000 lumen LED projector, 3D surround sound, a high res camera, a 1TB storage drive, air quality sensors, WIFI, and runs Android 4.3.  It can move around on it’s own similar to a Roomba and can drive to any room in your home via a command from your smart phone (given that it’s on the same floor), it also has a charging station that it can drive to to charge it’s self.

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Keecker has a unique motor that can control the angle of the projection that it emits,  this allows it to project anywhere from low parts of the wall up to the ceiling.  It can project as close as 2 feet and automatically adjusts it’s keystone and its focus.

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With all of it’s built in sensors and camera it is also a good home automation/security device.  Although it has not been confirmed yet, there are apps available to android that allow for motion detection from cameras and also to communicate with a nest and change temperature etc.  Apps like this could automatically automate your home and control things like your thermostat, lighting, and even watch out for home invasion.

 

The Keecker definitely has a lot of functions and can be a useful device in certain situations, but now for the bad stuff.

 

Even though it is literally the most mobile projector in the world, its still very immobile in many senses.  It’s slow moving and must use sensors to look for walls and other obstacles, this can create a fairly long travel time to where you need to use it.  Also for any building that has a set of stairs, the unit will need to be physically picked up and moved up or down the stairs.  The unit clocks in at 25 lbs and can’t really be considered light, for some people this could actually be a problem especially if they would like to use it in an upstairs meeting room or perhaps in an upstairs bathroom.  Right now the most mobility the unit has is to dodge people and objects in it’s way while it’s travelling around.

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As cool as it seems, the Keecker just really feels like too much technology crammed into one thing and many of those things seem like afterthoughts if anything.  A mobile projector was the original goal of the Keecker and its original prototype was very true to this, basically a motorized scooter with a projector strapped to it.  Over time more and more technology was added to the unit that brought it to where it is today, a giant egg shaped robot that drives around your house to deliver entertainment to anyone in it’s way.  Cool? Yes.  Functional? Maybe not.

Another big factor that we’re considering is the price, although not yet released based off the Kickstarter reward pricing we’re guessing it’s somewhere between $2,000 and $2,500 which we unanimously decided was just too much to pay for a roomba projector.  But either way, it’s definitely blog worthy, and if a giant egg projector robot is something that you think your business or home could benefit from, check out their kickstarter page and even consider donating to the cause!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/keecker/keecker-the-worlds-first-homepod

In our next blog we’re going to be covering the new HP Sprout, the worlds first projector/3d scanner/computer all integrated into one!

Epson EX3220 and AAXA M4, Review. – We took the Epson 3LCD Ex3220 and put it to the test compared to the AAXA M4

The Epson EX3220 is a 3LCD projector, which is the format that most if not all Epson projectors have been in for years now. 3LCD technology offers a huge advantage in brightness to newer LED brightness but with that comes reduced clarity and size of the projector. The Epson EX3220 specifications include a powerful 3,000 lumen light source and a large 1080p resolution, it has hookups for HDMI, VGA, Composite, and USB connections. It also offers features such as automatic vertical keystone correction and manual digital horizontal keystone correction. All around its a pretty solid unit for its price point of about $500 but we wanted to compare it to one of the newer, sharper, DLP projectors on the market. Pico projectors have been using this technology for sometimes and although early units were really no better than a flashlight, some of the newer models are starting to become very impressive. The model we chose to compare with is the AAXA M4, a recently released projector that offers a massive amount of lumens as far as pico’s go. The M4 offers 800 lumens, a 1080p resolution, Automatic vertical keystone correction, and hookups for HDMI, Composite, VGA, Coaxial, and USB. We put these projectors head to head in a test to compare their brightness, clarity, and size to create this review.
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The first thing to note about the two units is the size difference.  The M4 is the largest projectors that AAXA has ever produced but it still comes in at almost half the size of the EX3220.  Most of the space in the EX3220 is taken up by the UHP bulb, mirrors, and the lens.  That being said it’s on the smaller side of full-sized projectors.  The M4 accomplishes it’s small size with the LED light source that it utilizes, an optical engine.  The LED light source, mirrors and lens are all contained in one part of the unit, because there is no bulb this saves a lot of space, the rest of the unit is taken up by the motherboard.  The LED’s also run a lot cooler than a UHP bulb which allows for less cooling and smaller heat sinks, this also means that the fans in the M4 are much quieter as well.

Now lets talk about brightness, obviously at 3,000 lumens the EX3220 is always going to be brighter than the 800 lumen M4 but we wanted to see exactly how much brighter.  We set them up next to each other and were surprised by the results.  As we expected, the Epson was brighter, but the M4 was surprisingly comparable.  We tried different images, bright, dark, medium range to see which projector had better contrast and color.  While the EX3220 did better in the light areas, we found that the DLP M4 just had a better contrast ratio all around.  The blacks were very black and the white hues were very white, the color quality was great too very accurate and not too warm or too cool.  Although the EX3220 also had very correct colors, we found them to be just a tad bit too warm.  These settings can be adjusted in the projector so this is just our opinion, with some tinkering it could definitely be adjusted to anyone’s liking.  It was refreshing however to start up the M4 and have a near perfect color pallet without any adjustments.

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(Left AAXA M4, Right Epson EX3220)

Lastly, clarity, now we have to admit, this almost isn’t a fair fight.  3LCD is an older technology and due to the way it works it will just never be as clear as a DLP projector, pico or not, but in the spirit of competition we decided to put them head to head and see just how much difference there was in the clarity.  The EX3220 did just fine in applications such as pictures or movies where there was a lot of colors or movement in the picture, in this case the M4 did just about as well as it.  When we tried displaying text is when we saw the real difference.  The EX3220 almost always looks like it’s out of focus while viewing text, in fact we thought it was when we first started the test and spent a good 5 minutes trying to fiddle with the focus knob.  The difference here is night and day, the M4 gives crisp clear text that is readable from a good distance while we had trouble reading text from the EX3220 from any distance really.  Because of this we think that the M4 would be a much better “presentation” projector due to how readable the text was, plus it has a battery to boot which makes it extra portable.  Check out our image below comparing the text from both projectors side by side to give you an idea of just how different it is.

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(Top: AAXA M4 Bottom: Epson EX3220)

We made a video comparing the two projectors so that you can see for yourself just how much difference there is and maybe help you make a decision when it comes to buying a projector for yourself.

In conclusion, we feel that even with the M4’s great performance in this test it just hasn’t replaced full sized projectors yet due to it’s brightness, however when it comes to clarity and portability we can safely say (since the EX3220 is a newer projector based off Epson’s current technology) that it trumps all models in these corners of the arena.  It’s only a matter of time before the optical engine’s and LED’s that the pico projectors use get to a level where they replace 3LCD and UHP projectors all together, and the M4 is definite proof that that day is not far off.

The EX3220 and M4 are available to any consumer from most mainstream retailers, we’ve provided some links in-case you’re interested in one of these projectors yourself.

AAXA M4 – http://aaxatech.com/products/m4_mobile_led_projector.html

Epson EX3220 – http://www.staples.com/Epson-EX3220-SVGA-3LCD-3000-lumens-projector/product_220803

All of Epson’s line of projectors – http://www.staples.com/Projectors/Epson/cat_CL140542?fids=4214931083

 

 

Navdy, for those who don’t have an M5 but still want a HUD in their car.

The BMW M5 has had a pretty sweet HUD integrated into it’s dash for a couple of years now. It’s mostly used to show your speed, RPMs of the engine, and navigation. Although it’s use is limited it’s still a pretty cool concept and if you’re anything like me leaves you wishing this feature was in more cars and that you also had an M5.

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However for those of us who just can’t afford a $94,000 car, not all hope is lost thanks to Navdy.

Navdy is a pico projector built into a small unit with a screen that can add a HUD to any car with an OBDII connection.  Navdy can do things like reading your text messages to you, Video Chat, Navigation, and even reading information from your cars computer.  All of this is packed into a compact hands-free unit aimed at making driving in the age of cellphones a much safer activity.

Don’t just take my word for it, check out this video that Navdy made, it should fill in any questions you have about what it can do.

For those of you who just can’t keep their hands off their cell-phones while driving or for those of you who just like to keep your eyes on the road at ALL times, Navdy could be a pretty nifty gadget for you, and might just save you some money on tickets.

The technology that it employs is a fairly simple concept however the implementation of it is what makes it special.  It is basically a small projector that projects backwards onto a mirror which then reflects onto a piece of glass.

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What makes it cool is that it seems to work just as well if it’s in dark conditions or light conditions, this is a technology that Navdy will not release details on and it is what makes it’s product stand out as surely other companies are soon to jump on the bandwagon with an idea like this.

Right now you can pre-order a Navdy for $318 including tax, however the company claims that this is a promotional early price and that the actual retail price of the product once it is out will be 40% more.  So if this looks like something you would want it’s probably a pretty good idea to order now while it’s almost half off.

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As Navdy gets closer to release we will cover more as more details come out and also provide some news on if there are any competitors coming out of the woodwork looking to compete with the unit.  But for now, adding a HUD to your car is not far off, and you won’t have to spend  $94,000 to do it.

 

Samsung Galaxy Mirroring Made Simple with a Smart Projector

Mirroring your phone screen has always been a tough issue to nail for developers and hardware manufacturers alike, there are several competing standards out there like Miracast, WiFi Direct, the Chromecast, and many many others.  Additionally, there’s also no easy way to make these standards work with each other, since they all use different technology to accomplish the same goals.

With more smart projectors coming out, running full operating systems like Android, this is becoming easier to do.  There are apps out there like MirrorOP, which when installed on two devices, will allow them to mirror their devices to each other.   This is pretty easy to setup in practice, it involves installing the two apps on the devices and connecting them via WiFi.  The video I posted below demonstrates this setup using a Samsung Galaxy S4 and the AAXA Technologies LED Android projector.

New Casio Projector is Lamp-Free

Using a laser / LED hybrid light source, the Casio XJ-UT310WN LampFree Ultra Short Throw projector offers eco-friendly data projection that provides an overall lower total cost of ownership than traditional projectors. The 5th generation Casio LampFree projector combines a laser, a fluorescent element and LEDs to generate high brightness. This light source offers a 30 percent increase in LED light output for improved colors for Signature, SLIM and the new Ultra Short Throw in Casio’s portfolio. In addition, the LASER & LED HYBRID Light Source has an estimated 20,000 hour lifespan with minimal brightness degradation and continuous operation.

Compared to traditional lamp-based projectors, Casio’s Signature projectors consume 1/3 less power per unit and eliminate the need for expensive projection lamps that often need replacement. Power consumption with the brightest setting is only 180 watts and eco modes can reduce power consumption up to 50 percent.

Primarily designed for the education market where Ultra Short Throw projectors are becoming the standard, the XJ-UT310WN offers WXGA resolution and required connectivity plus a suite of application tools which easily integrate today’s mobile technology into the classroom. Casio’s new XJ-UT310WN has a brightness up to 3100 lumens and an ultra short throw ratio of 0.28:1.

The XJ-UT310WN is available now with an MSRP of $1,999.99 and available for purchase through Casio’s National Pro AV dealer network and authorized distributors. An optional wall mount (YM-80) is also available with a MSRP of $249.99.

Ultimate Gaming Experience

As the old saying goes… “GO BIG OR GO HOME!”  As a gamer, I always look for ways to get more out of my gaming experience.  So I found a way to GO BIG AT HOME, or anywhere else for that matter.  All I needed was a portable, LED projector, the gaming console of my choice and a big wall.  Normally my 55″ Samsung flat screen at home gives me a pretty darn good gaming experience, but I was blown away to see how I can now play games on a 120″ screen on any wall that’s big enough for that size!  Check out how simple it is to set this up —

120″ Gaming Experience Setup

One word of caution, with these smaller, more portable projectors, it’s best to stick with ones that have at least 300 – 500 lumens, and play with the lights off.

How to Make Batman’s Wri st Projector and Communicator!

In November 2013, the Make A Wish Foundation made one little boy’s dream of being Batman’s sidekick and saving Gotham City from evil doers come true. The city was transformed into a real life Gotham with the villains that Batman and his new sidekick BatKid need to put away and save the girl.

Batman has usually always had the best in technology. It was always small enough to fit on his person and always had enough power to do anything he wanted. So for the BatKid, he needed a way to signal and call Batman, so what better way to do this than with a custom built Bat signal projector and communicator. With a tiny pico projector you can make Batman techonology.

We found an instructable that will allow you to call Batman whenever you need him.

See the instructable here:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Batkid-Tech-3-Wrist-Projector-Communicator/step1/Proof-of-concept/