- Source article: Apple applies for pico projector patent
MEX note: Display and input mechanisms are the dominant design constraints of mobile devices. While the technology exists to miniaturise much of the communications and application processing, the form factor of devices has been limited by the practical need for a reasonable size of display and an input mechanism compatible with the size of most people's hands.
However, pico projectors raise the interesting possibility of breaking the link between display size and device form factor. The tiny projectors are embedded within mobile handsets and used to project images onto a nearby surface. Combined with camera-based gestural input technology, pico projectors would enable mobile devices to power much larger, more immersive visual experiences.
While it is difficult to directly equate patent applications with actual product intentions in today's litigious climate, Apple has already shown its interest in using mobile devices to power multi-screen experiences with its AirPlay technology. It is currently the only manufacturer which offers a complete environment for sharing media between PC, TV and mobile device in the home.
Projection technologies, gestural input and multi-touchpoint experiences have been a consistent theme for MEX for some years, most recently with MEX Pathway #2 (Research the implications of multiple touchpoints within a continuous experience). Pathway #2 will once again be in focus at the next MEX on 30 Nov – 01 Dec 2011 in London.