Lots to talk about this week, including a gravity-defying quantum levitation skateboard, Lytro's revolutionary new camera, the future of Android skin, and a robot helper for man's best friend. Plus, Donald shows off the nerdiest way to feed your baby, Rafe protects you from phishing scams, and Eric has the latest from Blizzcon.
This week, Donald and Eric tackle some big tech ideas while fighting off a dark cloud of Nietzschean existentialism.
Microsoft demos shoulder-mounted touch-screen projectors, while Disney takes a decidedly low-tech route. We also look at a ball that can take 360-degree panoramic photos in one shot; advancements in harvesting energy from humans; the strength of your passwords; and a new spin on superhero teen shows.Subscribe in iTunes SD Video | Subscribe in RSS SD Video
What's cooler than a pair of handheld projectors? A pair of handheld projectors that interact with each other. SideBySide is a prototype handheld projector system from Disney Research and Carnegie Mellon University. Aim two of the devices at adjacent spots on a surface, and the projected images react to one another.
In one application, a pair of cartoon boxers square off. When the characters are close to each other, fists fly. In another, a giant ape and a jet fighter do battle. There's also potential for engineering and productivity applications. (See the video below.)
The images interact because the devices project invisible infrared control signals along with the visible projections. Infrared cameras in the handheld units detect the control projections. This makes each unit aware of its own projections and those of other units. When the projections are close to each other or overlap, the animations change.… Read more
Dear Santy Claus/Hanukkah Harry/spouse,
I know this letter is a little early, but I just figured out what I want for Christmas/Hanukkah this year. It's the Epson MegaPlex MG-850HD, a high-definition home-theater projector with built-in speakers and an iDevice-compatible dock.
In other words, I can plunk my iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad on the MegaPlex and enjoy all my videos--including those streamed from the likes of Crackle, Hulu Plus, and Netflix--on a screen as large as 100 inches.
Of course, the projector also has HDMI, VGA, and component/composite inputs for connecting other video sources, so I'm not limited to Apple gear. An Android phone with HDMI-out, for example, will fare just as well.… Read more
Optoma makes some of the better Pico projectors out there, and its new PK120 offers some intriguing specs, including a relatively affordable $249 list price.
For starters, the 18-lumen PK120 weighs in at 5 ounces, is less than an inch thick, and is powered by Texas Instruments' new nHD DLP chipset with advanced LED technology, which delivers 640x360 pixel resolution in a 16:9 wide-screen aspect ratio.
The projector has 2GB of built-in memory and a microSD card slot that accepts memory cards up to 32GB. Optoma says it's made several improvements, including an "all-new file viewer that delivers direct playback of MS Office and PDF files, photos and movies." Supported video formats are H.264 (.avi, .mov, MP4, 3GP), MPEG4 (.avi, .mov, 3GP, .wmv), M-JPEG (.avi, .mov), Xvid (.avi, .wmv). The company also claims the new projector delivers improved clarity of text or other black content by creating a smoother image. … Read more
A newly published Apple patent application has provided additional hints that projectors could one day end up in future Apple products, including the company's phones, tablets, and as an accessory for notebook computers to help make it easier to share content with one another.
The application "Projected display shared workspaces" was filed in February 2010 and pulled up this morning by Patently Apple. It outlines a system for taking what's on screen and projecting it onto a nearby surface. What's interesting about the system proposed in this particular patent filing is that it can combine … Read more
We've been waiting years for smartphones to gain built-in projectors. What's not to like about your phone being able to project a 50-inch display?
There are a few projector phones on the market--outside the U.S.--but the predicted flood has been slow to materialize. That could be changing, thanks in part to a speck of glass not much larger than a grain of sand.
One reason phone projectors have been just out of reach is that they have to be bright to be seen well, and projecting a lot of light takes a lot of power. So while it's possible to put a tiny powerful projector into a phone, doing so involves trade-offs.
The grain-size speck of glass, a lens from Japanese component maker Alps Electric, transmits more light than previous lenses, which means fewer trade-offs. A projector using the lens requires less power to put out a given amount of light. When component makers address efficiency like this, watch for more phone makers to take the plunge.… Read more
I love projectors. Nothing beats wall-size movies, TV shows, Xbox games, photo slideshows, and so on. I've also been known to haul a projector outside for a little backyard theater action.
These days, a 1080p model is all but essential. Alas, most of them sell for $1,000 or more--sometimes way more. But today only, and while supplies last, Woot Sellout has the refurbished Optoma HD20 and HD180 projectors for $649.99 (plus $5 for shipping).
The two models are virtually identical, though the HD20 has a slightly higher contrast ratio: 4,000:1 to the HD180's 3,… Read more
The Qumi by Vivitek isn't just one of the smallest projectors in the world. It could also be the very first beamer of its size to display 3D content. Measuring about 6.4 inches by 1.3 inches by 4 inches (about the size of a 300-page paperback), this pocket projector doesn't quite fit in your jeans pocket, but it is still incredibly small.
Some key specifications of this LED projector include a 1,280x720 native resolution, 300-lumen brightness, and DLP Link 3D synchronization technology. DLP Link inserts information between video frames for synchronization with active-shutter 3D glasses. This means you won't need an infrared or Bluetooth connection with the projector, unlike most 3D TVs today.
Unfortunately, we couldn't find any information about the 3D formats supported by the device. Current 3D TVs work with frame packing, top-and-bottom, and side-by-side content.
The Qumi still appears to be one capable and lightweight projector--it weighs 1.4 pounds--and doesn't cost a bomb at $499. It's available now at Amazon.
BenQ has started shipping two new HD DLP "cinema" projectors, the W1100 and W1200, that it says are ideal for "high-rise" dwellers. We're not exactly sure what makes them ideal for multidwelling (MDU) media rooms, but the projectors, which cost $1,199 and $1,499 respectively, do offer 1,080p resolution, a 12-lens optical system, and built-in dual 10-W speakers with SRS Wow HD sound technology.
The W1100 is a 2,000-lumens (brightness) projector with a 4,500:1 contrast ratio and a full 10-bit color processor. Meanwhile, the step-up W1200 is a 1,800-lumens … Read more