pixels             …everywhere.

Seeing the (digital) light

by on Jun.24, 2011, under musings

A little over four years ago, I held a ‘picoprojector’ for the first time, long before they became commonplace. At the time, it was pretty primitive but what I saw started me thinking.

When I was CTO at Christie Digital Systems, one of my jobs was to keep an eye on new technologies. Christie makes bright –-really bright—projectors for very, very big images. Picoprojectors were definitely not in that league. But the potential of small, lightweight digital projection intrigued me. Christie MicroTiles™ resulted from that encounter, but that’s another story.

I liked how I could simply hold that picoprojector in my hand—sort of like a flashlight. I noticed how bright it was when I held it fairly close to a surface. It was like a flashlight …a digital flashlight.  A flashlight that could do so much more. It could change color. It could highlight. It could display content.

That was the “ah ha” moment: I stopped thinking of it as a projector at all. It was a source of light. Modulated light. Digital light. Something that might be used for more than plain old projection.

I started  thinking: could this be scaled up? Could a desk lamp, or even room lighting be done this way? How would it be used? Was this the only way to do it? Was this a glimpse of a new way to think about light?

Since then, I began looking around for other examples. It turns out there are a lot. In future postings, I’ll show some examples.

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