What if you combined a luminare with a projector? Imagine replacing rows of fluorescent lights or recessed lighting with LED-based luminare-projectors. You could illuminate with white light, colored light or projection-mapped images on tables, walls or other objects. Add some simple interactivity and the concept sounds even more intriguing. Now imagine extending this to the office, retail environment, commercial facility, etc.
That’s kind of the idea behind the Panasonic Space Player product. It is essentially a DLP projector packaged to look like a track light that can be wall or ceiling mounted. A separate box carries the power supply and some electronics. Output is 1000 lumens (using laser phosphor light source, we think) with a 1280 x 800 resolution 1-chip DLP imager. There is a powered zoom lens with a throw ratio of 1.5:1 to 3.3:1.
The graphic below also helps explain the idea allowing menus to be projected on a table, images to be projection mapped on a statue or backgrounds presented to help sell clothing.
At Infocomm, the concept was being used to show how the selling of a golf club can be enhanced with information.
This is the first product that has been packaged and marketed with this concept, so we applaud Panasonic for taking the risk of pioneering the concept. It is priced at $5K, however, so much too high for any mainstream adoption.
But if Panasonic has some initial success, it seems likely others will follow. 1000 lumens is not that much light and you don’t need a lot of pixels to create the effect, so it also seems plausible that versions with different technologies at far lower price points can be offered to the market. In the longer term, maybe the way to think about this is taking a segment of a fine pitch LED wall and packaging it in a recess light or track light with a projection lens. This would allow Moore’s Law to work in your favor driving prices down rapidly.
Is the space player the start of a new trend?