Software, tablets… let’s talk about what we really want: more awesomer projectors.

The significant remaining design challenge with projectors has long been the lamp. Lamps are hot, lamps fail and have to be replaced, lamps are loud, and the enclosure necessary to accommodate the lamp bulks up the size of the projector.

The solution: take the lamp out of the projector. That’s what the upcoming Projectiondesign FR12 will do, says a report by Gizmag from last week (via Engadget). Anton aka vade turned me on to the news, and I can see why. The lamp fits into a lovely, roomy rack-mountable housing of its own. The projector itself becomes much smaller and makes no noise, and can be located 30m from the rack. (A Liquid Light Guide run makes the connection.)

For digital artists, this means your work no longer needs to be accompanied by the woosh of a fan. For clubs and other installations, projectors can fit into smaller spaces and lamp replacement is no longer a big deal. For live visualists, even, I could imagine this opening up some new setup possibilities.

The Norwegian Projectordesign has an impressive track record with trends, with the first commercially-available SXGA, 1080p, and WUXGA DLP projectors, and the first portable, high-res active 3D stereoscopic projector.

Assuming the FR12 specs are similar to the non-remote F12, the F12 DLP does 1920×1200, 1080p, and 1400×1050 HD modes (so both 4:3 and 16:9 and 16:10), a range of lenses, a 3.5 kg magnesium case, and 3500-3900 maximum lumen brightness. Get two of them, and you can do optimized, matched stereo 3D.

Of course, for live applications, we still badly need LED light sources. LEDs should radically increase longevity – no more buying bulbs every other year that cost half what the projector cost you – and decrease total cost, as scale increases. They’re also cooler and lighter. The convergence of those trends could finally make it easy for visualists to buy more of their own projectors, and just like musicians with their own PA or DJs with their own decks, that might finally make visualism a widespread activity. For their part, Projectdesign also jumped into LED illumination last year. I’m not convinced the LED revolution is going to take hold right away in any lighting segment, though. It seems the brighter LED sources just aren’t quite ready for prime-time – or large-scale production – just yet. I’ll be watching, though.

Now, was anyone, oh, hanging around at the ISE 2010 trade show this month to find out more about the FR12 and other new products? (Product pricing and availability were expected to be announced this week.)


Want an indication of how cool a vendor projectiondesign is? Check out the thoughtful array of ports on the back of their F12 (the non-remote version of the FR12 above). Note: these ports would presumably all be available on the rack unit on the new remote model; there’s nothing on the projector itself except for the line to the rack.