A new type of projections could put moving media on any conceivable surface.
Ready to ditch that blurry projector and send crisp images thousands of feet away? Russian company Radugadesign is trying to turn the projector industry on its head, and it has a familiar technology on its side: Lasers. However, instead of a single laser pointer, like you’d use to pester your cat, their laser projector (which is so new “it doesn’t have [a] name yet”) uses a light beam that scans across a surface over a million times a second, leaving behind a moving image.
Laser projectors do already exist, but this particular version of the technology makes a key improvement. As one of the developers explains in the demonstration video, existing laser projectors use the “mirror system of scansion,” in which an oscillating mirror reflects a laser beam. This projector, however, uses no moving parts, instead using a beam passing through two crystals, or acousto-optic reflectors. This results in “raster scansion,” with a television-quality resolution of 640×360. This may not sound like a lot compared to the 2K and 4K resolution DLP projectors on the market, but the projector’s predecessors had what is called vector-quality output, which is not even actual video.
Despite from the pure luminous intensity that it can put out (it can project on gray and other dark-colored buildings, a feat that usually requires prohibitively intense light), the device’s power consumption compares very favorably with existing projectors. To illuminate 300 square meters with a typical DLP projector, they say, it would take 10 kilowatts, but with the laser projector, it will be just 500 watts, or a twentieth of the DLP’s.
The creators hope the laser technology will be incorporated into a larger project. With a 3D scanner attached, for example, it could rapidly capture and render 3D spaces such as rooms. It also opens up new possibilities in the arts, as it allows the user to map video on unusually large and distant surfaces; the projector has thus far been used at a dance concert and a New Years rave. A full-color model under development could illuminate 1,000 square meters with accurate representations of what is now seen on many device screens, creating what the developers call “media-facades.” It’s just another step closer to Blade Runner.
[h/t] Prosthetic Knowledge