If you don't live in a big city or have never used public transport, you won't be aware of the great British tradition of annoying people on a bus. To participate in this ritual you must be between 14 and 18-and-a-half and you must own a mobile phone equipped with speakers. You must then use this phone to annoy all other commuters hoping to enjoy a quiet journey to or from work.
Now, technology has brought us yet another one of its inevitable advances, one that will bring new levels of irritation to public transport: the Optoma Pico, a tiny projector for throwing video on to a near wall or other solid surface. About the size of a portable media players and mobile phones. Can you imagine what the kids are going to do with this thing?, the device weighs just 115g, is battery operated and can project images and video from a variety of sources such as
Optoma can be forgiven for not considering the appalling social consequences, as to grownups the idea of a little projector like this is very cool. Optoma claims you can get an image of around 60 inches from the Pico, which might be true in total darkness, but when there's light present you'll struggle to get a good image brightness at half that size. The projector does let you adjust focus, which is operated by a slightly fiddly control on the side. There's no keystone correction though, as you might expect for such a dinky device.
That said, if you're with friends and you want to watch some video you shot on a camcorder or a mobile phone together, and you happen to have a pitch-black room with a nice white surface -- and you can use anything for that, like a paper napkin or a sheet of A4 paper -- the Pico will come into its own. You can also get a small tripod to support the projector, which should help keep the image the right size and shape.
Because it's a DLP projector, the colour and brightness are pretty impressive. That doesn't alter the fact that to really get a watchable picture out of it, you have to keep it quite close to the surface you're projecting on to.
The tiny projector claims to have a lamp life of somewhere around 20,000 hours and a freshly charged battery should last about two hours, which is enough to drive everyone crazy on even the longest bus journeys.
The Optoma Pico will be available in the next month or so, and will cost around £250. Now enjoy a series of photographs we've lovingly taken of the device. -Ian Morris
No, no, we haven't employed a giant, the Pico really is that tiny. Very handy if you need to conduct an impromptu presentation while out and about.
Here we've placed the Pico next to anto give an idea of scale, and to prove the last photo really wasn't taken using the hand of a giant.
Close-up it looks like a normal projector, in as much as it has light coming out of the front.
During our time with the Pico we managed to setup a small cinema using the projector, an iPhone and a white napkin. We were charging ants £5 to watch a movie, and they were lined up around the block. Well, around a bit of fruit that had been left on the table.