Anything’s a screen for the Pico Projector
Texas Instruments’s Pico Projector is small enough to fit in a cellphone (albeit a chunky one, if the prototype we saw is any indication) but bright enough to shine a 15-inch-wide image even in a well-lit room. TI first showed the device at last year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), and it’s made only one public appearance since then, said TI representatives who busted it out during a small reception in New York last night.
Seeing really is believing with this tech. Point the Pico at any even vaguely flat surface—a wall, someone’s back, the palm of your hand—and it’s movie time. The model I tried works by shining red, green, and blue lasers on a tiny digital micromirror device—the same kind of chip that powers DLP movie-theater and living room projectors and rear-projection TVs. A new version in development uses light emitting diodes to save money, power and heat. Good thing, too, because the Pico I held last year made a loud whirring sound, courtesy of the cooling fan.
So when can you have your own Pico? It will likely first appear in a cellphone, and probably next year, said TI representative Kateri Gemperle. Will the first cellphone maker break the news at CES in early January? “We don’t think a manufacturer would let CES go by without announcing something,” said Gemperle. —Sean Captain