Pondering pico projection

Among the products to arrive on my desk this week was a low power 3-axis accelerometer from Analog Devices, designed for mobile phones. It got me to thinking about all neat little apps for MEMS accelerometers that I have dreamt up, admittedly long after the likes of Apple and Nintendo's applications engineers had shown the way with their exceptionally user-friendly human interface designs. What about using motion-sensing technology to send photos, for example? A shake of the wrist in the direction of the recipient's mobile phone could trigger a message asking whether to send the photo on screen automatically to another via Bluetooth. Or it could be used to pass on your contact details, or swap files more easily. I am sure there are a multitude of such applications already under development.

However, another technology development mentioned in my weekly missive (Projectors, HD and fashion invade cellphone) sparked inspiration of a less welcome kind. Apparently, one of the myriad of features coming to a multimedia rich handset near you is the pico projector. Personally, this is a technology that I am less convinced about, as are various analysts within the sector. Bearing in mind the wincingly tight power budgets of most mobile phones, I am finding it hard to imagine how prospective integrators will squeeze enough juice out of existing battery technologies to make the pico projector bright enough to justify use as, say, a video projector. More worryingly, just as video phones have led to the pastime of 'happy slapping' (someone attacks an unsuspecting victim whilst their accomplice records the assault on a mobile phone – maybe this just a UK phenomenon?), I can't help feel that the ability to project images and video onto just about any surface is going to have some pretty unwelcome consequences.

No doubt there will be creative, educational and entertainment benefits a plenty to come from pico projectors – perhaps the next Tate Gallery installation will be projected from a mobile phone? I don't get that sense of immediate 'must have' though.

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