I just posted an article from Lattice Semiconductor about Pico Projectors in general and the use of FPGAs in these little scamps in particular (Click Here to see this article).
It’s funny… I had vaguely been aware of Pico Projectors for quite some time. I remember seeing articles on stuff like this as far back as a couple of years ago. But I hadn’t realized that they were actually available and (sort of) affordable.
Look at the image below. This depicts a realtor using a Pico Projector to display pictures of real estate properties to a client. As fate would have it, my wife (Gina The Gorgeous) is a realtor; as soon as I saw this photo I thought to myself: “Gina would get a lot of use out of one of these little rascals.”
In fact, I would get a lot of use out of one of these little beauties myself. When I go to visit potential clients, I could show images of books and papers and graphics and suchlike that I’ve created. And there’s also the personal side of being able to show slide shows and videos to family and friends.
Actually, I’ve been asked to speak at the local Optimists Club in a couple of weeks’ time. They meet in a private room at a restaurant, so having a Pico Projector would be perfect to add a bit of “eye candy” to my presentation.
But which one should I get? Ah, there’s the rub. This is more complicated than is seems, because they all have different features and functions. Let’s take a step back and think about this. What do I really want?
- On the personal side I want to be able to display photos and videos to family and friends.
- On the business side I want to be able to display PowerPoint Presentations, Word Documents, and Excel Spreadsheets.
There are two ways to achieve the above:
- If the device functioned only as a projector, I would want the ability to connect it to my PC. That way I could simply display documents and images and videos that were stored on the PC. In this case I could use my PC’s wireless mouse to advance from slide-to-slide in a PowerPoint presentation, for example.
- If the device functioned as a self-contained storage device, then I would want the ability to connect it to my PC and to drag-and-drop PowerPoint presentations, images, etc. from the PC to my Pico Projector. In this case I would also need some sort of remote control so that once I had started a presentation I could advance from slide-to-slide without touching (shaking) the projector.
If I could have only one of the above, I think I would prefer the latter -- that is, that the projector could function as a self-contained storage device. It would be incredibly useful to be able to give off-the-cuff presentations without having to lug my computer around. Of course the best of both worlds would be a Pico Projector that could work in both of the above modes.
And then there are factors like brightness and contrast and resolution. I saw one projector on Amazon.com that looked really tasty, but upon reading the "small print" I discovered that it had a resolution of only 640 x 480. If I were displaying only home videos, then a lower resolution would probably be OK. But when it comes to presentations, I think 1024 x 768 would be the minimum that would be acceptable, and ideally I’d prefer 1600 x 1200 (or higher). Also I’d like the displayed image to be bright enough to be seen in the presence of some amount of ambient light; if the image is so dim that no one can see it… what would be the point?
The problem is that – thus far – I haven’t actually seen one of these little beauties “in the flesh” as it were. So if you happen to have any suggestions with regard to the most affordable Pico Projector with the best features and capabilities then I would be delighted to hear them…