After seeing a pre-production prototype at IFA 2014, we got the opportunity to pick up a stylus-like pen, power up a portable projector and were able to interact with images thrown onto our wall by the successfully crowdfunded Touchjet Pond. Now China's Puppy Robotics is launching the puppy cube, a laser projector that also turns any flat surface into a touchscreen, but one that has its own speakers and doesn't require its users to hold a stylus.
With the puppy cube, users will be able to follow recipes on the counter top without covering a tablet screen in sticky cake mix, hit the floor with the kids and run favorite edutainment apps, stream a movie onto the wall without needing to plug in speakers or connect to a laptop or show an interactive presentation on the boardroom whiteboard.
The 132 x 86 x 213 mm (5.2 x 3.4 x 8.4 in), 1.6 kg (3.5 lb) interactive all-in-one ultra short-throw portable projector features MStar 6A938 quad-core processing brains – chosen because "its video decoding ability is excellent" – 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of onboard storage. At its heart is 0.3-inch DLP laser display technology by Texas Instruments that projects the image through a "highly transparent coated lens" from Ricoh for 1,280 x 720p image resolution, though is compatible with Full HD, 2K and 4K.
The puppy cube can throw out 300 ANSI lumens, has 600:1 contrast and supports 100 percent NTSC color gamut and HDR. It's recommended throw is 23 - 40 diagonal inches, but that can stretch up to 100 inches. It rocks auto keystone correction and auto or manual focus, the latter via a wireless remote. And the system can track up to 10 simultaneous finger touch points – no stylus required.
Its built-in 5,000 mAh battery is reported good for 150 minutes between charges, and there are two integrated 5 W speakers, each built around a 36 mm full-range driver. If you don't need to project any images, you can use the device as a portable Bluetooth speaker.
The puppy cube includes Bluetooth 4.0 and dual antennas and dual receivers for 802.11ac Wi-Fi. It can mirror a smartphone or tablet display – AirPlay, DLNA and Miracast are supported – or can run apps directly from the projector thanks to running Android 6.0 with a custom puppyUI skin. Puppy Robotics plans to upgrade the OS within a year of release. Cabled connections shape up as USB 3.0, HDMI 2.0 and a 3.5 mm headphone jack.
The puppy cube is expected to retail for US$1,499, with Puppy Robot aiming for commercial availability by Q1 2019. Before that happens, the firm is raising production funds on Indiegogo, where pledges start at $799. If all goes to plan, shipping is estimated to start in December.
We'll be able to get better acquainted with this portable interactive projector when our review unit arrives in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, the pitch video below has more.
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