It Shoots Frickin' Laser Beams
One major advantage of using lasers as the light source for the Show WX is that lasers are inherently always in focus. That being the case, you can move the Show WX closer and further away from your projection surface or even project on a curved surface, with the image always remaining in focus. Of course, the closer you are to your projected surface, the brighter the image - remember the good ol' inverse square law from high school physics?
Brown rated the Show WX's brightness at 10 lumens, emphasizing that he was talking about "10 real lumens - we do not lie." In Brown's demonstration in a less-than-brilliantly lit service corridor of the Moscone Convention Center, home of Macworld Expo, the image was surprisingly bright at TV-set-sized projections, and quite serviceable - if nowhere near dazzling - at image sizes of three diagonal meters.
He also demonstrated the Show WX projecting on both the white hallway walls and the back of a black T-shirt worn by an obliging colleague. The images were quite impressive on the black surface, seeing as how the projector produces black by simply not projecting anything, making the contrast ratio on a black surface noticeably high - 10,000-to-1, according to Brown.
No, it's not yet a product. Yes, there's promotional packaging. Ah, marketing...
Brown said that the projector is "likely to launch at between four and five hundred dollars," but that Microvision is looking at different distribution channels. "We may not own-brand it or we may own-brand it, we may go through distributors or we may go through OEMs. We're really focused on making the engine good, and we're a bit agnostic about where it gets put."
The uses for the Show WX that Brown cited ranged from "fun" to "the elevator speech - which you literally can now do in the elevator. Or you can put it inside a MacBook, put it inside a camera, ultimately put it inside a cell phone." We can see it being used to share a video you just shot with a group of friends - projecting from the camera itself - or substituting for a recalcitrant office projector when you're giving a presentation on the road.
Then there's watching videos on the ceiling in bed. You pick the appropriate genre for that scenario.
Microvision will have its first "pilot units" to send to OEMs in mid-year. "By Christmas," Brown anticipates, "you'll be able to buy this in stores."
Let's hope. From what we saw, the Show WX or one of its possible variants could elicit more than a few ho-ho-hos in December. ®
Microvision protoypes iPhone-sized projector
so where's my laser TV?
if they can make a projector, they can make a lightweight HDTV that uses the laser technology in a larger panel. If it costs $400 to make it that small, they should be able to deliver a widescreen LCD or plasma killer for not much more cost.
I'd heard there were problems getting the blue laser to have longevity. Have they resolved this or is the pocket projector intended for relatively short runtimes and short service life?
If so, can the laser elements be replaced? And if they don't need replacing, can we see the end of the constant bulb-burnouts and replacement for all the PC projectors Management loves around here?
Video in action
@AC 09:06 : Not sure if they put it online but BBC news have been showing a feature from CES all day and it includes a clip of the projector playing a video of an iPod ( or iPhone ). Didn't look too bad, not that much contrast but enough of it to be impressed.
@AC 10:25 : If you stare directly into one ofcourse it will harm your eyes, but the same thing applies to any bright light source - be it an incandescent light bulb, a standard projector , the sun or a laser pointer.
@Stu : In general, properly engineered solutions using lasers will always vastly out perform LEDs.
Tech is more exciting than Paris, isn't it!
This tech moves so slowly. Anyway, it'll be cool to share video of my family without needing to find a TV and cables. It could just shoot out the back of the camcorder or my phone. Just seems like we should've had this several years ago. I mean, lasers have been around for a half a century now.
Have you finished with the code review? Can I move onto the refactor now?
When this becomes a low common denominator, there will be nuisance incidents regarding pron and other objectionable material. On the ceiling of the bus, the classroom, outside the church, etc.
You can count on human behavior every time...