Monday, April 02, 2007

Embedded projectors coming to a cellphone near you

I know there's a digital signage angle in here somewhere, but for now I have to admit I'm mostly drawn by the sheer cool factor of a suite of tiny projectors that manufacturers like Texas Instruments, Microvision (seen at left), and Explay are bringing to market early next year. The technology is different in each of the three offerings, with some similar to the current generation of LED backlight projectors, others using DLPs, and still others using more exotic mechanisms like lasers. All are optimized to deliver a small screen experience about 8" on a side, to be viewed from just a few feet away.

While the obvious target here is consumer devices like cellphones and PDAs, I could see the tiny projectors themselves appearing all over the place (if they're cheap enough), and being used for any number of experiential marketing programs. Anything from fixed counter-top projectors to disposable projection systems in semi-permanent POP displays would be possible. While so much attention in the digital signage market is given to bigger and brighter displays, there's a growing opportunity for the creative use of smaller, less expensive displays to connect with consumers in a meaningful and unobtrusive way, and these micro-projectors could soon become an enabler.

Tags: projector, digital signage, Microvision


Jon said...

Just an FYI... Microvision's projector can deliver an image significantly larger than 8".

In a dimly lit room, 30"+ comes across with excellent picture quality.

Mike Halloran said...

I remember, it had to be 20 years ago, guys were making synthetic holograms, laying down ink in odd patterns that when illuminated with a laser produced very, very rough holographic images suggestive of real objects.

I'm guessing that LBO's technology is a logical evolution of that, given orders of magnitude more computer for orders of magnitude less money, space, and weight.

Or, will be, someday, given yet more orders of magnitude more money, which they are working hard to aggregate.

I've been wrong before, many times, but I'm generally suspicious of 'forward looking statements' like "(we) ... will show ...".