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.
M4 Size comparison

 

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.

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.

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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/

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]