Video: Microvision Pico Projector Throwing iPod Video...on Some Dude's Back

Up until now we have only heard about Microvision's "plug-and-play" pico projector for mobile devices like PDAs, PMPs, digital cameras and laptops. Now that CES is here our own Nick McGlynn got the opportunity to see what this bad boy can really do. We also learned that the device pictured here is actually a prototype—the final version is expected to be smaller. (And again, don't be confused by Texas Instruments picoprojector, which isn't anywhere near final production.)


At any rate, testing showed good video quality at around 50 inches, and it managed to get in the neighborhood of the advertised 100-inch range. Plus, the video proves you can project decent images onto someone's back. So, if you can find someone with a seriously huge ass with a thing for white pants, you can have your own mobile theater.

Microvision to Unveil Handheld 'Plug-and-Play' Pico Projector for Mobile Devices That Delivers a Home Theater-Sized Viewing Experience

Ultra-thin laser projector prototype with connectivity to mobile phones, PDAs, PMPs, digital cameras and laptops to be displayed during CES 2008

REDMOND, Wash.—Jan. 2, 2008—Microvision (NASDAQ:MVIS), developer of light-scanning technologies for display and imaging products, will unveil at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas next week an advanced prototype of the first handheld, battery-powered, 'plug-and-play' projector based on the company's single micro-mirror laser scanning display technology.

Code-named SHOW™, Microvision's stand-alone pico projector intended for mobile device applications, is powered by the company's proprietary ultra-miniature PicoP™ display engine. Microvision will preview the PDA-sized, fully self-contained, battery operated, full-color laser projector to select global OEMs, mobile carriers, content providers, development partners and members of the media.

SHOW connects directly to laptops, mobile phones, portable media players (PMPs), digital cameras and other mobile devices to project large, high-resolution images and video onto any surface. The images projected can range anywhere from 12 inches (30 cm) to 100 inches (2.5 m) in size depending upon the projection distance and are always in focus. The production version of the device is expected to offer approximately 2.5 hours of continuous battery life, sufficient to watch a full-length movie without a need for recharging.

Microvision says that SHOW can project a widescreen, WVGA (848 X 480 pixels), DVD quality image — offering a very different experience from the tiny 2-inch display solutions available today on various portable devices. Designed for viewing high-quality projected images in a variety of controlled lighting environments, SHOW offers more than five times the resolution compared with competing miniature projectors that typically only offer QVGA resolution (320 x 240 pixels).

At the heart of SHOW is Microvision's PicoP display engine, measuring close to 5 cc in volume and approximately 7 mm thick (approximately the size of a thin mint chocolate candy). Microvision envisions the PicoP display engine being used not only in stand-alone accessory products like SHOW, but also embedded directly into mobile consumer products.

"Consumers want better display solutions that will enrich their experience in watching TV, videos and movies, in playing games, and in browsing the web from their cell phones and other mobile devices," points out Alexander Tokman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Microvision. "While mobile multi-media subscription services are on the rise, handset manufacturers, content providers and service providers view tiny cell phone displays as a barrier to stronger consumer adoption of their products and services. With Microvision's SHOW you could view and share everything ranging from YouTube videos, MSN newscasts, and Google search results to PowerPoint presentations, feature-length films, and family photos in a large, full-color, hi-resolution format instead of a 2-inch, QVGA display."



Laser displays might ultimately be brighter and more efficient in the future, this pico display here is certainly far dimmer than any LCD TV (at 480 lines, it's also lower resolution than the worst HDTV).

That looks to be about a 20 inch diagonal image on that man's shirt and at 20" its reasonably visible in a dark room, but even at 20", it's already far dimmer than any LCD set currently sold. It's for "controlled lighting" environments at that size. It probably looks good in a normally lit room at 5" diagnoal or less.

If it were actually projected to 100 inches diagonal, it would be 1/25 the brightness that it is in that picture, which is probably unacceptable even for a dark auditorium. Yes, it will be in focus, but it will be a pretty dim image.