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Technology Showcase: Pico Projectors

Oct 8, 2009 2:54 PM, By Jay Ankeney

New products lay the groundwork for a potentially dynamic market.

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3M MPro120 pico projector

3M MPro120

Here is a look at some of the most intriguing pico projector products available today. As you will see, something this small is destined to be something very big.

3M is proclaiming its new MPro120 pico projector as a second-generation unit because it's the first with its new MM200 projection engine. The MPro120 is capable of beaming out a VGA image (640x480) with 100 percent color gamut and includes two integrated, 0.5W stereo loudspeakers that transform the MPro120 into a self-contained presentation device for entertainment or business applications. The MPro120 can project 8in. to 50in. still or moving images stored on a video capable device such as a MP3 player or laptop computer using LCoS technology and an LED light source with predicted 20,000-hour life. The MPro120 provides users with a battery life of 2 hours to 4 hours (depending on brightness setting), which is enough to watch a full-length film. In full-brightness mode, 3M’s MPro120 achieves a brightness of 12 lumens. Featuring an integrated flip stand, tripod, and variety of input cables, the MPro120 is ready to use right out of the box with a wide range of today’s most popular video output gadgets.

AAXA Technologies claims its AAXA P2 pico projector is the brightest pico projector on the market. Designed for the professional user, the AAXA P2 micro projector employs an ultra-efficient optical engine design, new LCoS chip, and high-power LED to achieve a 33 lumens output at 800x600 resolution, which means when used in darker environments, the AAXA P2 can produce spectacular images up to 80in. Professional features include a direct VGA connector supporting up to 1280x720 resolution for laptop connection, an infrared remote control, dual 0.5W stereo loudspeakers, and onboard gamma correction. The battery life of the AAXA P2 is rated at 60 minutes (standard battery), with optional super-thin 35-minute and 180-minute batteries available. Additional accessories allow the AAXA P2 to connect to Apple iPhone/iPod, Microsoft Zune, Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP), and a wide range of cell phones from Nokia, LG, Samsung, and HTC.

The PocketCinema V10 Plus portable projector with media recorder from Aiptek lets you project a 50in. image on any surface using a 3M’s MM100 light engine. The PocketCinema V10 Plus comes complete with an integrated media player, 4GB of built-in memory, and support for up to 32GB SDHC cards. The V10 Plus also allows you to record video from any video source onto its internal hard drive so you don't have to contend with file conversions or uploads. Using 3M’s LCoS technology in its imaging system, Aiptek’s V10 Plus has a white LED light source that lasts up to 10,000 hours and produces 10 lumens at VGA (640x480) resolution. It also comes with a remote control.

Aiptek is also offering its PocketCinema V10 standalone handheld pocket projector, capable of throwing a 42in. image from more than 5ft. The PocketCinema V10 standalone pico projector can handle various video formats including MPEG-4 (Non DIVX-AVI, .ASF, .MP4) and H.264 through ArcSoft Media Converter conversion. It comes with a USB cable, among other connectors.

At June’s Display Week, Light Blue Optics (LBO) announced its holographic laser projection technology that can create WVGA video and still images at 10 lumens or more depending on the content shown. LBO’s proprietary imaging technology has an ultrawide throw angle and the ability to correct for optical aberrations using software. These features enable LBO’s miniature projection systems to switch from conventional front projection onto a wall to a novel table-down projection mode where the device is placed on a table and the content is projected down onto the surface in front of it. The user can then control the projector and interact with multimedia content simply by touching the projected image. LBO announced its first product is scheduled for release to OEM customers in Q4 '09.

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