Youlalight, an alternative to makeup with projectors.

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Today we will be covering the Youlalight hat, which claims that it has the solution to having to put make-up on every day.  Basically, it is a baseball cap with an integrated projector that will display images of makeup onto the users face and allow them to get out of the house quickly in the morning.  Today we’re going to be going over specs, performance, and usability just to see how likely something like this is to see production.

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Although the actual specs on the projector engine have not been released, we estimate that it is somewhere between 10-20 lumens in brightness based on its size.

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That being said, 10-20 lumens is not very bright and in fact could be considered very dim.  We’re not sure how a projection engine of this brightness would perform while projecting in full daylight as the product is intended to be used in.  A 25 lumen projector that we previously reviewed was hard to make out an image even in office lighting in full daylight the image was not visible so we’re definitely curious as to how Youlalight is going to accomplish getting the make-up images to show.  Another factor is the battery, as you can see in the image, the battery is about as small as the optical engine which makes us think that you wouldn’t be able to expect much projection time from it. They claim that the battery should give it the ability to run for 3-4 hours however we have trouble believing that, the same 25 lumen projector that we mentioned before had a similarly sized battery and had the ability to operate for about an hour at a time before needed to charge.  For someone looking to use this as a replacement for makeup would need the charge to last basically an entire day.  The control board for the projector is very simple which is definitely good for something that is probably going to receive a good amount of abuse out in the world, it basically has an on-off switch, SD card reader to store the makeup images, a button to change the image, and connections for the battery/optics.  Youlalight says that you will be able to charge the unit via a mini-usb slot located somewhere on the hat although we aren’t seeing it in the image of the PCBA they included.

Youlalight says that the projector will have a very simple integration into the hat, basically the PCBA will be mounted in the front of the hat while the projector will be mounted upside down under the bill of the hat pointed at the face of the user, we’re still not 100% sure where the battery is going to actually fit, they say that it will be mounted near the PCBA however we think this would cause a bump in the hat making it uncomfortable to wear.

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as you can see, the battery is mounted right where the forehead of the user would go, seeing as the battery will most likely get warm and is a hard object this may not be comfortable for the user, as well as possibly dangerous, a defective battery could possibly explode sending it’s acidic components onto the users skin, hair, and possibly even the eyes, we feel this is the main thing that needs to be looked at with this design, any time you include a battery in a product it can pose a fire hazard and a fire is definitely something you do not want happening on your head.  The PCBA is hooked to the engine via a long ribbon cable located inside the bill of the hat, this seems like it would possibly hold up well to the flex that the bill of the hat is sure to endure, we hope that the foresight to make this cable waterproof has been thought of, as users will most likely be using this outside possibly in the rain or even putting it on after taking a shower when their hair is wet.  Lastly we’re curious about the cooling system for the projector, even small projectors need some sort of a heat sink/fan set up to help cool down the LEDS, if this product is planned to have prolonged usage for possibly hours at a time it is likely that the projection engine would get very hot and either burn the user or cause a heat-related malfunction to the unit.

We feel that due to these design problems the likelihood that the product could be used in everyday life with its current design is slim, we thought of just a few usage scenarios where a product like this would most likely either malfunction or cause discomfort/injury to the user.  The first would just be wearing the device in almost any situation, for the projector to be positioned in a way that would project onto the users face, it would most likely also project into their eyes making it difficult to see,

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this means the user would not be able to operate any type of vehicle while wearing the unit and also most likely not allow them to properly view any sort of lighted screen such as a computer monitor or TV.  Another would be wearing the product in the rain, if the PCBA or other electrical components are not properly insulated from water this could cause electrical shock to the user and possibly also shorting out/malfunction of the unit it’s self.  Insulation required to make this kind of a unit waterproof would also mean it would contain heat which would cause the unit to most likely over-heat and malfunction in usages where it is hot outside or when the projector has been on for long periods of time.  Lastly, we’re not sure how the unit will determine exactly where to place the image on the users face, it doesn’t appear to have a camera or a focus unit, although it will be mounted in the in the same place without any movement people do have different size/shaped faces and we’re curious to see what the plan is to get the image in the right position and in focus on all faces.

That being said, we know we were a little hard on the Youlalight, in honesty it’s a good product we just feel that it needs to be reworked in several ways to truly be a sell-able/usable product for people.  It may also just not be marketed right, maybe it’s not good for something like makeup but for displaying your favorite sport teams logo on your face at the game, etc.  We encourage the designers over at Youlalight to continue to improve this product as we’re always up for integrating projectors into fun/quirky products.

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Lenovo Android Yoga 2 Pico Projector Tablet Compared Against Our Favorite Micro-Projectors

AAXA TECH, HandHeld, Micro Projector, Pico projector, Portable

Testing the Lenovo Yoga Pro 2 Projector

Recently, Lenovo announced that they were releasing a new tablet with a built in pico-projector, so naturally we were intrigued. Claiming “design intervention” from Ashton Kutcher (Steve Jobs) the tablet boasts some pretty gaudy specs and a very flexible design (hence, its name).  There are a number of existing reviews of the tablet, (Exhibit A, Exhibit B, Exhibit C), so we aren’t going to dive too deep into reviewing the device. We did, however, get to test it out against a couple of our favorite pico projectors, the AAXA Technologies P3-X and the AAXA Technologies P300. Admittedly, the tablet’s projector only clocks in at about 50 lumens, so a comparison against something like the P300 isn’t entirely fair, but it was fun, so we did it anyways.

The Tablet

The Yoga Pro 2’s projector has some pretty decent numbers for being housed in the small battery case at the bottom of the tablet. Lenovo did a fantastic job of making the tablet look and feel like a complete unit, fitting the projector into a snug, unassuming corner of the device. It turns on quickly, and seems to be a natural fit with the design of the tablet. The projector itself is an approximately  50 lumen LED with a sliding focus tab underneath it. The picture only projects one way, which requires the tablet to be resting on it’s side with its kickstand in support. Focusing the picture is pretty tough, and the final result never really looked too sharp and there was noticeable blur when conducting most activities. It runs surprisingly quiet and cool, which is really a testament to how far the technology has come in the past few years. Additionally, the massive battery powering the tablet means that the tablet can run in projector mode for at least 4-5 hours, which puts it well ahead of many similar projectors at the moment.  Overall, we were pleased with the innovative approach Lenovo is taking (even though its not the first to do so), and expect to see similar features from their competitors.

 TEST # 1

Our first test pitted the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro Tablet against the AAXA P3-X pico projector. With about 70 lumens, native WVGA (720p) resolution, the ability to project ~80″ image, and a two hour battery, the P3-X is a really nice little projector in an extremely portable size.

As you can see from the video, the two devices both performed rather well. The contrast on the P3-X seemed to be a little high, which distorted the color of the video, but it was considerably sharper and brighter. The color of the Yoga Tablet was by far its best feature, and it had a little more of a “true color” look to it on the wall. Also, the stability of the tablet, afforded by its “kickstand” made it a little easier to work with than the small tripod we set up with the P3-X. However, in the end, the P3-X outperformed the tablet, as it should, since it is a machine solely designed for the purpose of projecting an image, while with the tablet, its just a perk.

 

TEST # 2

In our second test, we decided to up the ante a little bit and pit the Lenovo Tablet against a higher powered pico projector, the AAXA Technologies P300, just to give people an idea of what is possible from a projector with a relatively similar price point. The point being, if the projector on the tablet is the selling point, there are alternatives in the market which can provide a far superior performance for a cheaper price.

 Surprisingly, despite being next to the vastly brighter P300, the Yoga 2 Tablet projector held it’s own.  However, the differences in resolution do matter, and the P300 projects at a healthy 1280×800 while the Yoga tablet shuffles along at ~854×480. The brightness was pretty apparent as well, my old Nikon DSLR wasn’t quite able to meter for the contrast in brightness, which makes the P300 seem somewhat distorted in the video, it did not appear that way in person. You can really see the difference when the light is on at the beginning of the video, the tablet’s projection fades dramatically while the P300’s remains rather visible. 

Conclusions

I think it goes to show that the tablet projector is going to be a thing in the future, particularly as the prices for the LED optical engines become cheaper. If you don’t have a tablet and  you do have a disposable $500, the Lenovo tablet could certainly seem like a buy. However, if you are looking to build a small home theater, or have portable projection capabilities, a dedicated pico projector would probably give you the most flexibility and bang for your buck.