When Projectors Get Really Portable
We all remember overhead projectors from our science class. They were bulky items of kit that took two of us to move from them from the store cupboard to the classroom and we were warned not to jolt them as the bulb was incredibly fragile and cost hundreds of pounds to replace. Terrifying – we thought the bill would be sent to our parents so we would handle with great care.
These types of projector had one major failing – you could only use them with acetate plastic and a dynamic presentation was essentially handled by drawing live on the acetate with a felt pen. It didn’t make for very exciting presentations and if you made an error on your finely printed graphs – they stayed there until you could re-print.
The advent of the ink jet printer made it a little easier to cope with because you could easily re-print, but that still meant a trip back to the computer and it was pointless if you were in the middle of a class. What we really needed was something that could project the contents of the screen of a computer. By doing this we could finally get animation and vibrant colours and maybe presentations and classes would be do dull.
The first attempts at this came when the TFT screen appeared. The technology used in the very first flat screen panels was utilised to create and essentially ‘transparent’ monitor that sat on top of a standard overhead projector and meant we could finally show what was on our computer.
These were fantastic though for the IT trade who reveled in this new found freedom of expression and when PowerPoint came along from Microsoft, people were subjected to boring presentations for years. One of the biggest problems though was with the brightness of the display. You simply could not use these projectors with the lights on and many people were plunged into darkness just to see some graphs on the wall.
Projector quality has thankfully increased dramatically though and it is now perfectly possible to use them in full daylight or with full lighting due to the extremely powerful bulbs powering these devices. They have also become incredibly portable and you can now get hold of projectors that will easily fit in your pocket. Stunning when you consider the brightness required to get your work seen by the masses.
Even more technology is on the way though with rumours that a major mobile phone manufacturer will soon be building a projector into a phone. This may sound like a bizarre idea, but seeing as many mobile phones can now play video, it looks like yet again the entertainment industry will be pushing advances in the office marketplace very soon.