Now this is cool. Everybody's favorite company 3M has been demonstrating a wicked piece of technology at CES in Las Vegas this week - a projector small enough to fit into a smartphone. One of our onsite correspondents sent us back some first-hand photos of this new gizmo at work (more photos after the jump).
At roughly the size of a wireless earpiece and less than a half inch thick, the Mobile Projection Engine can project a 40-inch or larger image with no-speckle and a high-fill factor at a VGA resolution of 640 x 480 pixels through its centimeter in diameter lens. The projected image above (bottom right corner) was projected at approximately two feet away under the bright lights of the trade show hall - pretty impressive!
Think about the applications of having this kind of projector built into your BlackBerry... On a flight and want to watch a movie? No need for a laptop! Just project it onto the back of the seat in front of you! Need to make a spur of the moment 'elevator pitch' to a venture capitalist to raise money for your start-up company? No need to squint at the details on your Berry when you can just project your presentation onto the wall!
The coolest thing about all of this is that the technology exists NOW. 3M says they are partnering with leading consumer electronics companies that plan to launch products in early 2008. Seeing as the BlackBerry is the dominant smartphone in the business world and that the need for this technology is arguably greatest in the business realm, I don't think it would be a stretch to assume RIM is one of the partners working with 3M to get this into a phone. And if you take a glance at the 3M ad hoc smartphone above, you can't help but notice the BlackBerry option and back buttons...wink wink nudge nudge... I'm
sure hoping this is a sign of things to come!
No specs as of yet in regards to energy consumption/battery drain for using the Mobile Projection Engine, but I would think this is likely one of the hurdles to overcome in successfully integrating this kind of gadget into a device like a BlackBerry. Good Job 3M!!
Some of the images are blurry as they were under a glass case at the 3M exhibit.
3M's Mobile Projection Engine - Amazing!
Another Angle of the Mobile Projection Engine
3M's Demonsration Smartphone - showing off the possibilities!
The business end - Don't point this at your eyes!
Projected Image from 2 feet away
Projected Image from four feet away - approximately 40 inches diagonal
Not a smartphone, but another device 3M had on hand to show off its
Mobile Projection Engine