Category Archives: LED Technology

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.

BMW 750Li Aug 2009

 

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.

Navdy-Screenshot-projector

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.

navdy_front_directions-e1407230284951 (1)

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/

DYI: Projector Mount to the Ceiling

You’ve always thought about how to just lay in bed and watch something on the ceiling but how?

Sure you’ve thought about mounting your TV up there, but then second thoughts hit telling you not to incase of an earthquake or just because you don’t know what you’re doing and become a pancake when the ceiling comes crumbling down on you, literally!

Check out this how to guide from squidoo.com

 

How it Works

The heart of our system is an LED pico projector, sometimes called a pocket projector, which can project a picture onto any light-colored wall (or ceiling, in this case.) This type of video projector is very small and inexpensive, and most important, has both a very long lamp life and cool running temperatures. Most video projectors contain hot lamps, and are not designed to be mounted pointing upward. Incorrectly mounting a traditional projector could result in expensive heat-related damage. Our pico projector, illuminated by modern LED lamps, won’t have this problem.

Pico projectors do have a flaw, which is a lower level of illumination than other types of video projectors. Fortunately, this is not a serious flaw for our application, as bedroom TV watching can easily take place in a darkened room. In fact, modest illumination is ideal for late-night watching, as it will not light up the room or disturb your spouse, who may be trying to sleep.

Many Pico projectors are not high resolution, though some are. You can also look at some larger and higher quality LED projectors. One of the first decisions you’ll need to address is whether you want to make yourself a high-resolution, full-fledged theater system, or if you’re happy enough just watching a big screen, but standard, video picture from your bed.

First of all, you need to have a white bedroom ceiling, that’s relatively flat. Using screen paint on your ceiling to improve light gain is an optional step.

Next, you’ll need a way to mount the projector to your bed’s headboard or the wall. Some ideas on doing that are in the next section.

And finally, you’ll need a video source, and a way to present sound.

Your source could be a small computer, which can be used to play DVDs through, or to access streaming content like NetFlix. It could also be a cable or TV tuner, or a set-top box like Roku, Boxee, or Google TV. It could be a DVD player. It could even be an iPod.

For sound, you’ll have to decide if headphone sound is enough (through your computer’s headphone jack, for example) or if you’d like to have a nice speaker system. The answer depends on whether you will be presenting to an audience – the population of your bed – or just to yourself. Any old stereo system with speakers could be put to use for this task. Place it close enough to your sleeping position that you can plug in headphones to silence the speakers when necessary.

 

Mounting Your Projector

As there are numerous projector designs and bedroom layouts to be found, these suggestions will be somewhat general. You may find a better solution for yourself.

There are three ways to mount your pocket projector for ceiling projection. You can mount to the bed’s headboard; you can mount to the wall; or you can use a mini-tripod to place the projector on a table, floor or other flat surface.

The bracket in the photo is homemade from metallic grid. Specifically, I used a material called “pulled metal” that I found at my local Home Depot store. It’s perfect for my task, as it won’t interfere with the ventilation holes on my projector. Pulled metal is very strong and tough, but bendable and workable with big pliers and wire cutters.

I just cut a small piece and bent into an “S” shape. Next I cut away some of the grid to make room for the wiring that plugs into the projector, and firmly attached the projector to the mount using a screw into the tripod mounting hole on the unit.

 

You can see in the photo how easily it hangs from the headboard on my bed. This same bracket could just as easily be mounted to a wall using screws.

Another option for wall mounting is a security camera mount, and there are some examples in the products section further down the page.

Some beds have shelf-type headboards, with a flat top. You could use a mini-tripod with your pico-projector in this instance. Likewise, the mini-tripod could be placed on your nightstand or even on the floor near your bed.

Mini-tripods are tiny and inexpensive, usually a few inches high, and normally sold for use with cameras.

Tips for Best Results

You should decide on and purchase your projector first, and experiment with placement before deciding on a mounting solution, as you will have a better idea what will work after doing this. If you buy a security camera mount, or a mini-tripod, make sure the head (designed for a camera, not a projector) can swivel your projector far enough to project an image straight up at the angle you need.

If you want the largest screen size possible, look for a way to place the projector as far as possible from the ceiling. You could even place it on the floor (if you have twin beds, place it between them.) Another consideration – to avoid excessive “keystoning” (distortion of the square shape of the screen), you also want to project as straight as possible. This means placing the projector as close to the heads of the viewers as possible (that is, not way off to the side of the bed, but as near to the center of it as possible.)

Note that if you want the absolute best image, you can paint your ceiling with special reflective screen paint that has a higher light gain than plain house paint. In my opinion this is not absolutely necessary for nighttime (darkened room) viewing, but you will get a brighter screen if you take this extra step. I have provided a link to screen paint products further down the page.

If your projector has a lens cap, be sure to cover the lens when not in use, or at least count on cleaning the lens on a regular basis. Pointing straight up, it will collect a lot of dust as time passes.

Other Uses for Your Bedroom Theatre

I have a small security camera plugged into an input of my projector (these cost just a few dollars – see products at the bottom of the page.) The security camera points out the window at my driveway.

Since my projector is on my headboard within easy reach, I can reach over and flip it on if I hear a noise outside. This is a very fast way for me to get peace of mind and go back to sleep.

With a little more wiring effort, the camera could also be used as a baby monitor for monitoring a nursery, or any other room in your house.

In fact, since the LED light source in your projector is so energy efficient and reliable, you could leave your nursery camera and mini-projector on all night, so that all you need to do is open your eyes and look upward to see that everything’s all right.

Connecting Your System

First of all, be sure you can connect everything the way you wish to. Decide first what your video source is. If it’s a computer, make sure the projector you buy has a compatible input. For example, if your computer has a VGA output, get a projector with a VGA input. A cable box or a set-top box like a Roku will have an HDMI output, which your projector is not likely to accept. But these boxes typically also have a composite video output, which most projectors will take. Likewise, DVD players have composite video outputs. As long as one of the outputs from your video source matches one of the inputs on your projector, your system will work.

The audio part of the system is handled in a similar way. The simplest and least expensive solution is to source video from a computer. Then you can simply plug in headphones to listen to sound.

From a set-top box or cable/TV tuner, you should use a small stereo system and speakers. Personally, I use an old one I found at a garage sale for $5, but using an inexpensive amplifier/speaker setup designed for computer use (with an appropriate RCA to 1/8″ phone jack adapter) should work fine, too. Use a standard RCA-type stereo cable between the box or tuner output and one the stereo’s inputs. Then place the speakers on opposite sides of the bed.

 

[http://www.squidoo.com/big-screen-home-theater-on-your-bedroom-ceiling-just-200]

The Ghost Box Portable Projector

3D hologram projection is a developing technology and it is here. Controlled by a smartphone or tablet you can put your product in any environment without ever leaving your seat. New technology puts together 3D printing, pico projectors and touchscreen all into one box, literally!

Chicago-based creative studio Leviathan, teaming up with music foundry Waveplant, produced the project. Moving from an early art experiment to a commercial application, they combined a number of ingredients into a box for dreaming up custom designs. The elements:

  • Projection mapping with a moving object (a technique we’ve seen with growing frequency)
  • The “Pepper’s Ghost” effect – sometimes dubbed a “hologram” by folks today, it actually makes clever use of mirrors and human perception, in a technique first documented centuries ago. (Pepper was the guy who made it a hit in theaters in the 19th Century.)
  • A portable enclosure (suitable for retail, events, and the like)
  • 3D printing
  • Interactive projection controls on a tablet

Furture of Pico Projector Market Worth $10.09 Billion by 2020

 

 

 

 

 

A new study has come to light about the future of the pico projector market. Its estimated to be worth $10.09 billion by 2020. LED pico projectors are continuously growing in technology and in the eyes of the consumers. At one point projector market had been dying due to the costs for the average consumer to own one. Not only that but the size of projectors were huge! But within the past four years as visual technology has grown tremendously a rise in the projector marketing as been taking place.

The Pico projectors are an emerging technology set to revolutionize the global projector market by making projectors portable enough to fit into a person’s pocket. Pico projectors can be in the form of a small handheld device, or in the form of a tiny light-engine added as an accessory to consumer electronics such mobile phones, cameras, laptops, and PDAs. The Pico projectors are portable and handy and therefore can be carried easily everywhere.

This report presents the future of the global market and industry from both technical and market-oriented perspectives with techno-market oriented roadmaps till 2020. This report describes the market trends, drivers, restraints and opportunities of the the Pico Projector Market and forecasts the market to 2020, based on products, product models, technology,components, brightness, application and geography.The report presents a detailed analysis of product market such as USB pico projector, embedded pico projector, media player pico projector and stand-alone pico projector and forecast the growth for each one of them. In geography the report covers geographies like the Americas, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and ROW (Rest of the World). In 2012, Americas were the largest geography in terms of market revenue for the Pico projector market. APAC, Europe and ROW are also a promising market, along with China, India, Germany and the Middle East are providing impetus to the growth.

The report profiles 25 promising players with a SWOT analysis of key players in the Pico Projector Market. The competitive landscape of the market presents a very interesting picture, where a large number of small players have become a force to reckon with. The market is witnessing a series of new product launch and announcement and partnership across the value chain. Some big announcement by small and big players alike is expected in the coming months. Some of the key players in the Pico projector market include Texas Instruments (U.S.), Syndiant (U.S.), Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (South Korea), AAXA technologies Inc. (U.S.), Aiptek International Inc. (Taiwan), Microvision (U.S.), 3M (U.S.), Sony Corporation (Japan) and Optoma Ltd. (U.S.).

[http://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Market-Reports/pico-projector-market-196.html]

QP Optoelectronics unveiling new Short Throw Pico Projector at CES 2014

Short throw pico projectors are getting more and more of a standard. People have limited space but want a bigger image at a shorter distance and QP Optoelectronics is set to unveil their new short throw pocket projector at this years Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2014 in Las Vegas.

QP Optoelectronics Widescreen

 

In just a few weeks, QP Optoeletronics will debut some exciting new developments with their ultra-short throw pico projection technology.  Continuous improvements have resulted in a projection engine that has throw ratios of 0.5 to 0.3.  A typical pico projector will have a throw ratio of 1.4 to 2.2.  This means that a user can produce images that are 3-5 times (or greater) in size from a fixed distance.  This is a critical advantage for a pico projector. James Lupino, QP Optoelectonics’ Vice President of Business Development states, “We believe 2014-2015 is where innovative products will emerge that include our short throw projector as a key enabling component.”QP Opto is targeting both mobile projection, as well as head-up displays (HUD) and mobile eyewear, where greater throw ratio and high brightness are beneficial.  We look forward to seeing these latest advancements from QP Optoelectronics and will publish any new developments here, at Picopros.com!

[www.picopros.com]

LED Pico Reviewed by PCMag.com

Last week on the PC Magazine’s website they reviewed the AAXA LED Pico. The MSRP is priced at $149 but everywhere is has them for only $119. It a small traveling projector with a high native resolution and rated at 25 lumens. Here’s what M. David Stone of PCMag.com had to say about the AAXA LED Pico.

 

  • PROS –Supports MHL connections to smartphones and other devices. Reads files from microSD cards and USB memory keys.
  • CONS – Laughably low volume. No VGA input.
  • BOTTOM LINE – The Aaxa LED Pico projector isn’t very bright and doesn’t connect to a computer VGA port, but it is bright enough to be useful and it connects to smartphones and tablets with MHL.

Similar in many ways to the Aaxa P2 Jr.$189.99 at Amazon, the Aaxa LED Pico projector offers even better shirt-pocket size portability. Rated at 25 lumens, it isn’t as bright as the P2 Jr., but it’s also less expensive, and it delivers a higher resolution, at 960 by 540 or exactly one-quarter the pixels of 1080 HD. Most important, like the P2 Jr., it enhances its portability by including a mini-HDMI port. That makes it a potentially good choice for projecting images from a smartphone or tablet that supports MHL.

At 0.7 by 2.4 by 4.3 inches (HWD), the LED Pico is about the same size as the AAxa P2 Jr., and a touch lighter at 5 ounces. Unlike the Aaxa P2 Jr., however, it doesn’t need the power block that effectively adds to the P2 Jr.’s size and weight. You only need to carry a short USB charging cable, which you can plug into any USB port or USB charger. And it can be the same cable and charger you’re already using for your phone.

 

Probably the best way to fully appreciate the LED Pico’s level of portability is to realize that it’s a touch lighter than the Samsung Galaxy S III that I regularly carry in my shirt pocket. It’s also noticeably shorter in two out of three dimensions, and a little more than twice as thick. If I were carrying both, I’d want to enlist a second pocket, but I could fit both in the same pocket if I had to: It’s that small.

Basics and Setup
Unlike most pico projectors, the LED Pico is built around an LCoS, rather than DLP, chip. Beyond that, it shares the typical design of using an LED light source that’s meant to last the life of the projector, with a 15,000-hour rating in this case. The 960-by-540 resolution is unusual for any projector today, but at one quarter of 1,920-by-1,080—or one half in each direction—it lets you show 1080 HD video or 1,920-by-1,080 computer output with minimal scaling artifacts.

Setup is standard for a pico projector, including the initial step of connecting the charging cable to the projector and a USB port or charger to let the battery charge. According to Aaxa, a fully charged battery is good for 80 minutes. Very much on the plus side, it actually lasted longer than that in my tests.

In addition to the mini-HDMI port, the LED Pico offers a microSD card slot and a USB A port, enhancing its portability even further by letting it read files directly from memory cards and USB memory keys. The only other port is an AV connector that accepts a supplied cable with female RCA phono jacks on the other end for composite video and stereo audio. What’s missing from this list is any way to connect to a computer that lacks an HDMI port.

To use the projector, you plug in the appropriate cable, USB key, or memory card, press the power button, point the projector at whatever you’re using for a screen, and focus. As is standard for pico projectors, there’s no zoom, so the only way to adjust the image size is to move the projector. One noteworthy touch is that the focus thumbwheel is easier to control than with many projectors, making it much easier to find just the right setting for good focus.

Brightness and Image Quality
Aaxa rates the LED Pico at 25 lumens, which is significantly lower than most recent small projectors, including the P2 Jr., at 55 lumens; the 3M Mobile Projector MP300$229.22 at Amazon, at 60 lumens; and Aaxa P3, at 50 lumens. Because perception of brightness is logarithmic, however, half the lumens doesn’t mean half the perceived brightness.

That said, in my tests the image seemed dimmer than it should be at any given image size based on its rating. Measuring it showed why, with the measurement coming out to only 10 lumens. That’s a disappointingly low number, but it’s still bright enough to be useful

Based on recommendations by The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), 10 lumens is bright enough for long sessions in theater dark lighting for a 12 to 16 inch diagonal image at the LED Pico’s 16:9 aspect ratio. In moderate ambient light, the appropriate size drops to about 9 inches. Both of these are consistent with my testing. Keep in mind, however, that these image size recommendations are for long sessions. You can easily use much larger sizes for short sessions without tiring your eyes.

As with its brightness, the image quality for the LED Pico is good enough to be useful, but not particularly impressive. On our standard suite of DisplayMate tests, it delivered acceptable, but not great, color quality and good color balance.

Video quality is probably best described as being good enough to watch, without actually qualifying as good. Flesh tones in several test clips had a greenish tint, particularly in shadowed areas, and I saw lots of posterization (colors changing suddenly where they should change gradually). However the projector did a good job maintaining shadow detail (detail based on shading in dark areas), and I saw very few rainbow artifacts (flashes of red, green, and blue). Even if you see these artifacts easily, you’re not likely to see them often enough with the LED Pico to find them annoying.

One shortcoming this model shares with the P2 Jr. is exceedingly low-volume audio, even for its 1-watt speaker. If you need sound, you’ll want to plug a headset or external sound system into the projector’s audio output. Depending on the source, you may also have problems getting the audio to work. When I connected the projector to a Blu-ray player, the auto setup feature insisted that the projector didn’t support audio.

Even with the audio issues, the LED Pico qualifies as a capable projector for its size and price. Its strongest point is its portability, with its small size, its ability to read files from microSD cards and USB keys, and its ability to connect to smartphones or tablets with MHL support. That adds up to letting you project images without having to carry much with you besides the projector. As long as you don’t need a brighter image and aren’t too much of a perfectionist about image quality, the LED Pico can be a good choice, particularly as a companion to a smartphone or tablet.