The first time I came across a cinema projector in someone’s home was about 20 years ago. My friends were massive film and video buffs, and wanted a real media room. The projector dominated the middle of the room and had a huge bulb, bigger the size of my fist, and a fan that sounded like an airplane taking off to cool it. The projector needed special handling when turned on or off, otherwise that bulb—which turned out also to be hugely expensive—would suffer thermal shock, and break.
It was a piece of infrastructure, not a piece of technology.
Those days are long gone, these days you can pick up pico projectors fairly cheaply online. But a lot of them aren’t that great. I’ve owned a couple, and most LED-based projectors need a fairly dark room to operate, and the picture always feels sort of fuzzy around the edges.
Which isn’t why you should be interested in the Nebra Anybeam, but it’s a good start. Because, at least in theory, this laser-based projector shouldn’t suffer from those sorts of problems.
Nebra is the parent company of another company that might be slightly more familiar to makers, Pi Supply. They have a long history of launching products on Kickstarter including their most recent campaign, for a LoRaWAN Gateway and a range of other LoRa boards.
Which explains why the Nebra AnyBeam also comes as a developer kit.
The Nebra Anybeam projector measures 19×60×103 mm, and weighs in at 140g. It uses a MEMS laser, which means that the projector should be focus free, and doesn’t need a noisy fan. Power consumption for the projector is estimated to be “…as low as 3W,” which means that you should be able to power it from a USB battery pack. It takes an HDMI in, and the output image is 720p (1280×720 pixels) video at 30 ANSI (150 ISO) Lumens.
The developer kit takes the internals of the projector—minus the internal 1W speaker—and packages them up inside a clear case.
However I think for most of the people reading this piece it’s going to be the final offering that perks the most interest, because the Nebra AnyBeam is also shipping as a Raspberry Pi HAT.
The Nebra AnyBeam is currently raising on Kickstarter. An early bird pledge for either the developer kit or the Raspberry Pi HAT version of the projector will cost £189 plus £5 shipping inside the United Kingdom, or £10 shipping elsewhere in the world. Or, if you want an assembled version, an early bird Nebra AnyBeam will cost £219, with the same shipping costs.