Backpack-friendly, pop-up display doubles as a short-throw projector
Back in 2016, startup Arovia launched a portable display solution called SPUD that could be folded down and packed away for ease of transport between uses. Now the company is set to launch a brighter, higher-res, more compact follow up called Splay, and has added a neat projector mode too.
The SPUD – which stands for Spontaneous Pop-Up Display – essentially allowed a user to carry around a 24-inch, 720p-resolution monitor in a backpack, and then fold it out and power it up when needed as a second display for work, to watch movies at camp, or to play games at a friend's house. The Splay works about the same but the projection unit has been upgraded for a brighter, higher-resolution onscreen image, and the whole shebang is reported more compact and lightweight.
The pop-up display is kind of like a small inverted umbrella, with a projection screen stretched across the front. Folded down, it comes in a supplied hard case, and weighs in at 2.5 lb (1.1 kg). But push the slider on the back and the hood and screen expand to produce a CRT monitor-like shape out front and a projection unit to the rear.
The Splay display offers 24 diagonal inches at Full HD resolution, and its projection unit has onboard controls for manually adjusting focus, brightness tweaking and raising/lowering the volume of the built-in dual speakers, and there's a button to switch the unit between projector and display mode – as this unit can be detached from the hood/screen to throw bigger images up on a wall instead (up to 80 diagonal inches), with auto keystone correction helping with placement flexibility.
There's also a HDMI input for connecting to a laptop for work, a smartphone to watch videos or a games console for play, and a USB port that allows for usage as a powerbank to top up smartphones or for powering a wireless adapter such as Chromecast or Apple TV.
The integrated battery is reckoned good for up to four hours of use per charge, and the device can be connected to a wall outlet for topping up or longer productivity sessions via the USB-C port at the back.
As with SPUD, Arovia aims to raise production funds for the Splay system on Kickstarter, where more detailed specs and the production timeline will be revealed. Pledges will start at US$699 (down from a $1,299 expected retail price). The video below has more.
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This is not an easily resolvable obstacle. It affects all compact projection equipment, and rear projectors most of all, and even with all the recent advances in cold light sources, still hasn't been solved satisfactorily. As exciting as this invention is, it is probably useless in a brightly light office interior, not to even mention outdoors. A pity.