Ultra-compact laser projectors have given us the ability to see, and even use, a touchscreen projected onto a surface. Also known as a pico projector, pocket projector, mobile projector, handheld projector, or mini beamer, these devices have now advanced from a simple image projection into the realm of the interactive. Applications for this technology include mobile, gaming, hand gesture recognition, and more. A few companies driving these technological moves into the future are Lenovo and Cicret.
Lenovo just announced a new smartphone, called Smart Cast, whose pico projector can turn any surface into a touchscreen. Although not the first to do this, the Smart Cast recognizes gestures to control the phone, and can project onto either walls or surfaces. Using this phone, you could watch videos on a wall or play music on a projected keyboard (pictured). While there are few details available since it was only recently unveiled, it could be a promising device.
Cicret, based in France, has also created a promising product – a wristband with a tiny laser projector that will display your smartphone’s touchscreen on your arm. Using eight proximity sensors, it lets your finger, touching the projected image, control your smartphone from a distance. Although it is still in development, Cicret aims to complete the final product soon, since its wristband has gained a great deal of momentum from the media and potential investors.
Key to these technologies are optics that provide clear images and accurate sensors. Using active alignment in the assembly process is just one of the many steps these companies can take to bolster the quality of their products. We look forward to a future in which these technologies can not only prosper, but also help to improve people’s daily lives through convenience and efficiency.